Friday, October 12, 2007

Mini Dental Implants

This particular post on my blog is a public service announcement. You see I am genetically flawed, honestly in too many ways to mention for heaven's sake. So for the purpose of this blog I will stick with discussing only one of my genetic mutations. Let me explain my plight and then I will tie in why this all really is, in fact, a PSA. This will probably be outrageously boring unless you have a funky tooth gene flaw like I do, so I will try to throw in some silly and unfortunately gruesome pictures just for added interest. Brace yourselves.

On my Dad's side of the family there is this wacked out missing eye teeth thing. This is genetic so I am sure it goes back way farther than this but what I know is that my uncle (my dad's twin brother) is missing his eye teeth and my Dad's are small. Then my brother(my oldest sibling) has small eye teeth, my sister(middle child) has even smaller eye teeth and then me (the baby) with NO eye teeth. I drew the short end of the stick on that one, but I guess being the baby and getting away with everything made up for it! My Dad and my siblings all had theirs capped. Anyway, I kept my baby eye teeth until I was about 14 when I got braces and, as was the norm for orthodontia of the day, they pulled all remaining baby teeth.

This left me a fragile and emotional teenager with braces and no eye teeth.

Go ahead and giggle, I would too if I was looking at YOUR 9th grade picture! This was circa 1985...whew what a babe I was! As if my missing teeth were not bad enough, add in the feathered version of the mullet and the unfortunate fashion situation that haunted the 80's. Have mercy on my soul. Sheesh, it's no wonder my awkward teenage years didn't damage my psyche even more than normal.

They did wire two false teeth into my braces at some point, thank goodness. Then off come the braces and on with the retainer. Well they connected false teeth to the wire of my retainer. As you can imagine I NEVER lost my retainer!! I would take it out just to hear the squeals of my friends though, great fun it really was.

At 17 I got my permanent bridge, a Maryland Bridge it is called. This bridge attaches the false teeth to the back of the two teeth on either side with thin metal plates. That was close to 20 years ago. Well one side of the bridge finally popped loose about a year ago so I knew something would eventually have to be done to the bridge...and I did not, cosmetically speaking, like how it looked.

(This was blonde rascal and I this summer in Pagosa Springs Colorado. We were at "The Malt Shoppe". If you are ever in Pagosa Springs I would highly recommend that you stop there. We had a malt every day... and I not ashamed of that.)
As you see in this lovely big shot of my mouth, my false eye teeth did not "yellow" to the same shade as my other teeth did. Ewwwww! Then the, before mentioned, metal backing showed through my front teeth giving them a repulsive grey tint. Ewwwww! Now, it was not all a vain cosmetic thing, my desire to get rid of that ugly bridge. You see the hygienist did agree, at my last cleaning, that the bridge was loose which then, she stated, becomes a breeding ground for decay behind there. I have no room for decay in my life so I knew another plan must be set in motion. And by the way they can't "re-glue" the loose bridge back on because you don't get a sturdy bond that way.

I go in for a consultation and they make molds, take pictures, x-rays, and all that dentistry stuff. Then I get hooked up to do at home teeth whitening. I want the end result to be for all of my teeth, real and otherwise, to be relatively the same color! Novel concept. Mr. Dentist tells me I am a perfect candidate for mini-implants. Yipes, that was not what I wanted to hear. I was imagining a new type of bridge that attached to the back of my teeth like before but not with ugly metal that showed through my teeth...all very easy involving no pain, no blood, no shots. Well it turns out that the Maryland type bridge, in any form, is way old school. Other than the implants my other option would be to file down 4 of my teeth and then make a huge crown type thing. Well I am certainly not filing down perfectly healthy teeth. So I was just sick at this news, I had to resolve myself to scary implants.

Mr. Dentist explained how these new mini dental implants, unlike the traditional implants where they cut open your gums, are smaller and there is no cutting of gums. The screw is very narrow, like a tooth pick, they screw it up through your gum and into your jaw bone where it eventually fuses with your bone. Very strong and really a great thing. The end of the implant, a post, sticks out through your gum which they then attach the false tooth to. I was like "Oh Mr. Dentist that sounds like a perfectly macabre procedure and I am the hugest of babies...ohhh I feel like I could puke just thinking about it." So Mr. Dentist said really it is not bad at all but I will prescribe some wacky pills for your to take before hand so you will never know what hit you. "Oh...pills you say? Prescription narcotics? That will have an effect on me for two hours? That sounds charming! Let me go home and think about it!"

I went home and researched it online of course. Which is a catch-22 because you really can find out too much info. I did find lots of pictures of the procedure that I could not stomach looking at! But then I did read a lot of information from other dentists who explained how easy the procedure was and the results were fantastic. I had a hard time finding testimonials that I felt like were "real" patients, not paid endorsements. I wanted the scoop, I wanted to hear a real person tell me what it was like. Now we have come full circle with my story. (I know you are saying finally!!!) Now, when some poor schlepp like me hears they are candidates for mini-implants and they go "Wha...?" Then hopefully when they go home and google it like I did, they might just pull up this blog! (Bless their heart!)

So here is my mini dental implant public service announcement... If your dentist recommends them for you, do not worry your pretty little toothless head over it. Do, for the love off all things sacred, take the sedation anti anxiety pill beforehand. I also got laughing gas. I was only semi-aware of what was going on, I could respond to questions and requests. It seemed like I was in the chair for 20 minutes when in reality it was a little more than an hour. I remember very little of the procedure. Nothing hurt, not the Novocain shots, nothing! Take the sedation drugs is all I can say! Here is a picture during the procedure after they had the implants in.... keep scrolling past with your eyes closed if you don't want to see this!

At this point the teeth are just glued onto those posts. When I got home that day and the meds wore off, I was sore but took a pain pill. Now here is the amazing part...the next morning it was like nothing happened. There was NO pain. I don't understand it, but it is true. I was very careful while brushing, as that worried me a little, but it was never painful.

That is my message folks, don't be reluctant to get this procedure done only because of fear. I hope one scaredy cat chicken, like myself has just googled their way onto my blog. (For the rest of you who are here on purpose I am sorry...just yawn & roll your eyes and then move onto another blog!) I am a real person, and a HUGE baby when it comes to procedures that I can't be put to sleep for! Trust me when I say it is nothing to be worried about, very easy and no pain afterwards! Did I make you feel better? Go ahead with the procedure, you will be glad you did!


kristen lewis said...


I got the heeby geebies just reading your description of the procedure. I, too, am a huge dentalphobe! Your teeth look beautiful. I am so proud of you for going through with it!

Mary said...

Oh my goodness, Brooke, you wore me out just reading that!! So glad that you made it through. I figured that the "pills" would make it all worth-while!!!

plumtickled said...

Hmmmm...... I think you've given me the courage to make that appointment. Now, to get the courage up to tell my Angel of a Husband how much it will cost!

I need like ten hundred of them implanted. I too was born without certain teeth while my two sisters were born with too many. And after three years of horrible braces as an adult.... my teeth are "ruint".

But, I'll call like a good girl very, very soon! Thanks about the next day part! It was the clencher!