As Andrew was listening to his dentist saying the word ‘’edentate’’, he understood what it meant even if he never heard it before. It meant that he was going to lose his teeth. Maybe this wasn’t his biggest problem at the time (he had divorced recently, his elder son was going through a confusing phase, his mother was ill), but it was the last drop. ‘’This is it, I need to make a change’’, he thought. And fast! And since a spouse is not that easy to find, since Matt’s phase requires longer time to spend together and talking and since his mother’s situation depends on fate, Andrew decided to begin his personal care journey with his teeth – and take the doctor’s advice and pursue an implant therapy. And maybe, quit smoking.
His decision was supported by the doctor’s explanations, as she managed to clear all his fears and second thoughts. Was the surgery going to be painful and complicated? The doctor explained that the reality is quite the opposite and that he would return home the same day with his new and healthy teeth. What if the implants do not last? The doctor explained that just as for any other product, quality matters and that the German made implants are the highest quality and very secure at the same time. Is there need to take medical leave? Of course not! When can you eat after such a surgery? Right after the anesthesia wears off. However, during the first 2 months after the implant, it is recommended to eat soft foods. After this and a check-up, all clear for a juicy BBQ! What about the price? The doctor informed Andrew about the price and was clear that once the process is started, there would be no surprises from this standpoint and no additional costs. However, for Andrew, the best argument was that he can have fixed teeth the same day.
And here we are, the surgery day is here. Following the doctor’s recommendation, even though he was excited, Andrew tried to get a very good night’s sleep. He had a consistent meal, cleaned his teeth thoroughly and, with his heart almost pumping out his chest from all the excitement, he entered the clinic.
The surgery was so easy and comfortable that it made Andrew think how easy and quick it was to change his life. During the surgery, the medical team was constantly around him, monitoring and telling him that they could take a short break at any time. Local anesthesia was used and it went perfect. The team also had on call an anesthesiologist, ready to step in if there were the need for an I.V. However, since the local anesthesia worked beautifully, it was no need for extra support and the surgery finished quite fast. Also, due to the same facts, Andrew managed to get back home on his own, without Matt’s help.
The doctor ran him through many important technical details about the implants, such as related to the gingival integration or the osseointegration warranty, which basically covers the very small chance that the implant is rejected by the body… He was listening, but his mind was already exploring all the new post-implant opportunities: ‘’I will not be so ashamed when opening my mouth (and he was used to talking a lot, as he was a math teacher). I will be able to join the boys for barbecues on Saturdays. I will be able to eat peanuts when watching soccer. And I will get rid of that bad breath that always makes me blush when I open my mouth. And I will not end up keeping my teeth in a glass, like an old….. I am only 53, I am not there yet…. And maybe I will finally ask Joanna at the movies…’’ »
After the doctor finished the stitches around the 6 implants, the surgery was over. And the perfect time to place the temporary prosthetics, until Andrew and his doctor decide on the final material to be used for his permanent teeth.
As he was not asleep during his surgery, Andrew was really impatient to see the result and start enjoying his new life – so many things to do, so many fears to leave behind. Apart from the feeling that he is restarting his life, Andrew was surprised that the surgery went through far better than he was imagining, It finished quickly and even if he had the feeling that his face was a bit swollen, which is normal, he did not feel any pain. He went home with a prescription for anti inflammatory medication and some antibiotics (to be extra safe) and with the recommendation to put some ice if he feels swollen. He was informed that the maximum effects will be experienced two days after the surgery, but things would improve very fast.
He was also a bit curious and surprised to see his new teeth. As he was thinking that they look a bit big, the doctor explained him that the tongue perceives and adapts to the new denture. The priority for any new dental implants is for them to be fitted with the provisional teeth so that they mimic best the natural chewing, sensations and pressure over the bone. Even though something happens with the provisional teeth, they can be fixed. Last, but not least, the doctor asked Andrew to keep close contact and call if he feels some movements or hears noises coming from the implant areas and also explained him that the temporary bridge may break at some point, but that there is nothing to worry about.. Keeping contact with the doctor throughout the healing phase is essential for the long term success of implant surgery.
He quickly decided that he made the best decision to get implants before his dental problems were too advanced. At the same time, he is taking care of his new teeth more than before, but the brushing that used to hurt and be uncomfortable is now a pleasure.
Andrew’s positive change was so obvious that one evening, one of his backgammon buddies overcame his shame (a feeling that Andrew used to know very well) and while covering his mouth (Andrew also knew this gesture quite well) he asked him about the surgery and the clinic.
Two months after the surgery, just as the doctor had predicted, his provisional bridge cracked. But Andrew knew that this may happen, he did not panic and went to the clinic where they fixed it instantly and asked him to return if such an incident occurs again. And so, Andrew learned that there are differences between the natural teeth roots and implants: implants are totally rigid and do not move into the bone, while the natural roots are slightly mobile.
Next step for Andrew was to get his permanent teeth. He was again surprised by the fact that he did not have to stay even one day without his teeth. The material for the permanent teeth was carefully selected and he was guided and informed through every stage and decision.
His new life started right after the surgery, when he noticed that his teeth are not moving anymore and causing pain, while the bad breath is gone. This called for a big smile already!
Two months later, when we was able to include more foods into his diet, he found even more reasons to be happy: the Saturday barbecue with the guys, which he was only dreaming about in the past, the peanuts and crackers during a soccer game, as well as the meat specialties prepared for Christmas…
Once the implants and final teeth were in place, Andrew learned that he only had to visit the dentist once per year, in order to check the hygiene and take an x-ray. This opened a lot of new opportunities for Andrew to do, such as spending more time with his son and navigate him through the post divorce period or rediscovering the fun or spending more time with his students and explaining them new theories. His new teeth meant finding the joy of life he thought he lost forever just a few months ago… And then, on a Sunday afternoon, he called Joanna….
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