I had slightly prepared and knew it was coming. I guess if you drill titanium pins into bone, you should expect some swelling. And if those pins and that bone are in your face, well…….
It’s still a wait-and-see process, as I’m popping prescribed antibiotics and rinsing with medicated mouthwash to keep infections at bay. With some luck and the help of the stars, I’ll end up out of the woods soon. The successful result will be a game changer, as they say.
The denture contraption I’ve been using helps control speech. The apparatus is more than teeth (which I cannot use for chewing). It’s a solid base to replicate the missing section of jaw. It was meant as a temporary solution and serves not only a cosmetic purpose but also provides enough pressure to keep the opposing upper teeth in place. Because of the depth and mass of the piece, it requires a plastic bridge braced across the base of my mouth as it clips onto other teeth. And because it’s impossible to keep food from getting underneath the plastic, I’ve got to remove and wash it, and my mouth, thoroughly after eating anything. Not so bad if I’m near soap and water. But in places where sanitarily washing is not available (airplanes, certain restaurants), the process is more tedious, which means anticipating and removing the contraption prior to eating. As sharing food without the denture means my speech is affected, business or social meals can be a bit more humbling.
Am I cryin? No. But do I want to live the rest of my life with that? Preferably not.
There is an intermediate denture solution, which involves making studs and caps out of a couple of good teeth to hold a similar structure but without the large plastic bridge on the floor of my mouth. But I can’t bear the thought of grinding down good teeth.
The procedure I had this past Wednesday, if successful, would be the ideal solution, even if the process entails a hefty payment, in more ways than one. It would eventually eliminate the need of the contraption as I’d end up with actual (fake) teeth.
The first major step after the detailed calibrations by the specialist involved a trip to the hospital operating room. There were about 10 scrubbed professionals all busy doing something by the time I laid down on the OR table and was strapped in. There were lots of tools laying around and as I started asking questions, I was poked with an IV and was somewhere beyond dreamland. Two hours later I was woke up in the recovery room with three titanium set screws firmly planted in my mouth. If all goes as planned over the next 3-4 months, the pins will integrate themselves with the bone allowing a substructure to be installed, and on top of that, new permanent fake teeth.
It’s none too mundane to think of having teeth supported by a vascularized leg bone transplanted to the jaw. Rather quite fantastic. If it all works out, I’ll have an almost fully functioning left side of the mouth, something I’ve been without the last couple of years.
As the fat face subsides and my mouth becomes less sore and more familiar with a few new metal parts, even though I’d rather not write about this saga (it was the original intent of the blog), I’ll gladly accept this process as payment to write this post, and maybe a few others, about what it’s like to fill, more permanently, a quadrant of my mouth left empty two short years ago.