In April 2018, I told my dentist during a regular check-up that my four bottom teeth were loose. “Loose?” he queried, as he wiggled them. “Teeth are supposed to move somewhat.”
Well, this was more than somewhat. I appeared to be in competition for losing those four teeth with my oldest grandchild who was starting to lose her baby teeth.
It took some convincing that something needed to be done, but the dentist started to discuss alternatives with me. I was tempted to just have all my teeth removed and stop what I predict will be an ongoing saga of dental work and huge bills. Of course, the advice out in dental world is to keep your own teeth for as long as possible. So, I agreed to have teeth implants.
You probably don’t want all the gory details so stop reading if you’re squeamish. I went to an oral surgeon on May 30th and so the eight-month ordeal began. I had to sign off on a form that said I knew cadaver bone was being used for a better result—in short, the implants needed better bone than I had.
I was told that my mouth is very small—so take that all you people who think I have a great deal to say! The dental surgeon removed the four teeth, and I was told that to heal well, it was advantageous if I could go without a partial plate for at least two weeks.
First of all, the oral surgeon—who is well over 6 feet tall with linebacker shoulders—had large hands. Remember, I have a small mouth. In fact, a pediatric bite blocker had to be located because the adult small was too large. Having said that, the oral surgeon did a very good job and the overall bill from his work wasn’t as high as everyone had predicted.
Unfortunately, after any dental procedure, I am prone to canker sores. Apparently, some patients get canker sores, there isn’t any way of preventing them and they are caused by stress. Obviously, I was stressed. The canker sores were more irritating than the surgery site itself which healed well. The dental surgeon prescribed a rinse. However, a clerk at the local Shoppers Drug Mart recommended a couple of products that worked even better: a ‘grown up’ topical anesthetic similar to what I used to squirt on the kids’ gums during teething and an oral wound cleanser.
I went to a denturist and had more impressions. She made a partial plate so that I could at least appear in public without looking like ‘an upside-down vampire.’ There was only one catch, of course: the partial plate had to be removed to eat. Since the front teeth are used a fair amount in biting, speaking clearly and so on, it became an eight-month endurance test.
It was handy on Halloween though, and my family either got used to seeing the upside-down vampire eating, or they were too polite to say anything.
Plan on seeing the inside of a dentist’s office very frequently if you embark on such an adventure: at one point three times in one week with a bill to match. There was some excitement in that I couldn’t seem to keep the temporary crowns on, regardless of the fact that I cut up my food into bite size pieces similar to what you’d do for a one year old starting on solid food. Two temporary crowns fell out. I swallowed one that had been replaced—I’ll leave the details of that result to your imagination.
Finally, on January 23, 2019, the implants were literally torqued into place. So far, nothing has fallen out. The greatest result is that I can actually eat in public!
As per usual given my age and stage of life, there is always more maintenance, specifically the regular mammogram. My theory is that the technician makes all the difference in this experience, and I lucked out this past week with a very capable and fast technician.
After the mammogram, I was booked for a bone density. I was glad to relax on that table, wedge cushion under my knees. The technician explained she was having difficulty locating me in the system based on a name search. I encouraged her to try alternative spellings of Cathro. No, that didn’t work either. She asked if I’d changed my last name. Finally, she keyed in my health card number, and there I was.
“According to this, your last name is P H Y.”
So, not only do I have new front bottom teeth, but, apparently according to Alberta Health Services, I am now Lorraine Phy.