Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yesterday's appointment

Another stressful one, but also one step closer to the finish line.

So this appointment they needed to once again remove my teeth and fit the metal base on to each implant. Then they took a panoramic to be sure that each implant was fitting *just* so. They were. So they then had to take this stuff and take an impression again of the base in my mouth for the new teeth. It had to be 'built up' though, because there are no gums down there (they were removed with the tumor, so I just have a floor to my mouth and thats it) to get a good impression. So what they did was stick one of those long wooden sticks in each of my implant holes (looks like a long wooden toothpick) and then cut them off, and then filled it with the stuff called "Blue Moose" (I think) to take an impression. That was so that the holes didnt get closed up with the stuff that they used, obviously. Then I closed my mouth and let it set.

Well when it was done, it didnt go as easily as they thought (surprised, anyone? I wasnt). The 3 wooden pieces came out of each implant hole but one would not. Of course, they had to remove it before they could take the base out of my mouth (along with the stuff that took the impression) so it took them nearly an hour of twisting, yanking and pulling just to get the damn thing out of the hole. I guess my saliva had mixed in with the solution they used for the impression and caused the wood to stick to the hole very tightly and kinda dissentigrate. It was awful. Finally they got it out but I was so anxious the whole time and scared that they wouldnt be able to get it out. All in all my mouth was propped open from 11 am to 1:15 pm. I was very sore afterwards, because it just takes its toll on your jaw when you arent used to having to open so wide. Also, keep in my mind my new jaw is very very thin, as I only got a couple cm of bone in there from my graft, so any amount of yanking and tugging on the teeh or it really hurts and makes it very sore after. But the good news is they got the wooden piece out, got the metal base out + the impression stuff and sent it to the lab. From my understanding, the next step is they will do an impression of my teeth set in wax, which is supposed to be an easy appointment (cant help but wonder what that means, ha ha) and then the final appointment they will send teeth that are all attached together to the base. Voila! Teeth, and done. For now. God knows for how long.

I really wanted to bring my camera but alas I forgot it again. Next time. I told my dr how I want to write a book and he said they would be able to help me remember all the details if I really wanted to. He also thought I should consider being a dental assistant. I cant help but say I have really thought so as well. It was funny, while I was waiting for my panoramic, the girl ahead of me's image popped up on the computer and I was able to point out all the parts. "That is 2 implants, there and there, right?" "Yes." "Two root canals, there and there?" "Yes." "That's a small bridge of 3 teeth, right?" "Yes." "That is a filling there and there." "Yes." "And there, that cloudy white bit, that is how high her bone goes from her gums, right?" "Yes." Ha! They should pay me for this stuff.

Maybe sometime. I'll keep you posted. As usual.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good times, my friends. Good times.

Well, yesterday's appintment was....something. The base plate for my permanent bridge was done (yay!!!), but was in 4 seaparate pieces. This is because they cannot make something that is just shaped like the curve of my lower teeth- it has to fit over each implant post exactly so or else the implants could break later on from the pressure of chewing and such. Two of the implants are angled, and two are straight up and down in the bone. So what he needed to do was take off this bridge of teeth, screw each of those 4 parts into each of my 4 implants, and then when they were all aligned and screwed in exactly perfect, kinda melt them together temporarily so it would be the exact shape it needs to be for the lab to go ahead and solder it all into one final, perfectly custom made piece. Got that?

Ahh, if only it was so easy! First, the temporary teeth are really hard to get off. I swear I hear the poor dr muttering under his breath and swearing to high heaven every time he has to take them off; he probably hates me by now. He had to pick pick pick, twist each implant screw and shake them all around until finally they released and came out. That is a ton of strain on my jaw, as I am not used to having my mouth open extremely wide for long periods of time (no jokes, please) and having all that pressure on it was insanely uncomfortable.

Then there is the tension I feel as soon as I sit in that dental chair. Something just comes over me... I start to shake and get really anxious. Like I have said before, it does not get any easier having procedure after procedure done in your mouth, in fact, it gets worse because after all you have been through you just do NOT want anyone touching in your mouth ever ever again. Sooo...once the teeth were off I get that oh so uncomfortable frightened feeling. Well instantly I tasted blood and cant figure out why. The dr looks concerned so I start to freak out. I can feel a bubble or something under my tongue coming from the floor of my mouth...he said it looked like the tissue was rising up under the temporary bridge and was irritated and inflamed. It was bleeding, and he said that he needed to take it off. Um, what?

At this point my anxiety level is through the roof. They then say they need to cut it off with this thing that will cauterize the vessels so it doesnt bleed everywhere. Nice. SO they poke me with needles to numb me up, which tastes awful, and then they make me sit on this thing (all the while I am hysterical, crying and shaking, I just could NOT control myself) that looks like a black pad with a cord coming out of it that was attached to this thing that looked like a long pair of tweezers which I knew were going to cut off part of the floor of my mouth. I joked "are you going to electrocute me now?" but the truth is I was only half joking! I swear nothing would surprise me anymore after what I have been through.

So, I am really upset and scared and I could tell my dr was getting upset with me, which only made me MORE upset and scared because I wanted him to know I was trying hard to compose myself but was insanely afraid of what was going to happen. There was also the fear in my mind "what if they cut this thing and stuff comes out of it, like an infection?" But anyway, they lopped it off and cauterized it, all this smoke was coming out and it smelled just awful. I now know what a burning body smells like, blech. Disgusting. And awful. It turned out to just be excess tissue build up after all of that mess.

So then after the bubble was gone he was able to fit the little metal pieces of the base onto each implant, screw them on and then he used this stuff paired up with what looked like a UV ray thing to I think oh so gently attach each piece together so he could get the exact shape of the floor of my mouth and implants. Then he let it sit, and then had to unscrew it and gently lift it out. This will be sent to the lab for them to solder together permanently. All the while my mouth is tasting like blood and crap, there is slobber everywhere because of the numbing solution and I was just DONE. So he got the temporary teeth back on and told me to come back in Monday for the next step. Honestly, I was pretty out of it, mostly from how I exhausted myself crying and getting all worked up, so I dont remember exactly what he said was next but I am only a couple of appointments away from getting my final bridge of teeth then hopefully will be done, at least for now or until something else comes up. Its crazy to think it is so close after 4 1/2 years of this!

So that is my disgusting story of excess tissue cuttage, cauterization and smelling of burning flesh for the day. Now please, DO go and enjoy your dinners, everyone. Hopefully my next post wont be as disgusting.

And Dr Wong, if you are reading this, you're still my favorite doctor even though when you asked me if I was still mad at you I turned my head and refused to look at you like a 3 year old would. I am sorry I was such a baby. No hard feelings, huh? :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We can move forward!

I just got a call today...the lab was re-opened! I go in tomorrow first thing. I am not too sure for what but all I know is its to do the next step for the final bridge. Thank God! I was so worried, since we weren't sure when it would be re-opened and I was worried it never would be. Thank goodness for all of the prayers and good thoughts, thank you! I will keep you posted when I know more. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stressing a bit

My denture decided to get all floppy again, and for about 4 days I wasnt even able to eat anything. It had never been that loose before and it was very unsettling. Whenever I even drank anything I could feel it lift up on the right side where it had previously cracked, but the whole thing just felt seriously unstable.

So I went in yesterday to see if they could tighten it. It had cracked again in the original broken spot, and I dont even know how since ever since I got it fixed I was scared to eat anything anyway, so I was living on extremely soft foods, but I think it was just going to re-crack anyway because of the location. They ended up having to remove the teeth....when he said that at first I started to cry. He asked me why I was crying and said he needed to remove them in order to fix it properly, and also to clean it for me. I guess it was just so scary for me to have them off for a lot of reasons. The biggest being that they would not be able to get it back on or something would break in the process. But he also needed to check one of my implants that he said he was worried about. That scared me even more, because I am down to only 4 implants, and with a whole bridge of teeth that need to be anchored if I lose even one this whole process just isnt going to work.

So they got the teeth off, and it was pretty rough on me. To be honest, I was surprised at the violent emotions that came out when they took them off. As soon as I felt that familiar lip-caving in sensation of there being no teeth in there I cried. I cried the whole time he was fixing it, and until it was back on. I guess it just brought back memories of all the time that there were no teeth in there, how people stared at me every day and I just had to deal with it and suck it up. It was just a very helpless feeling I guess. But anyway, it turns out the implants look okay, the one he was worried about had just loosened from the screw over time, so it was still firmly anchored in place, which is good. Loosening of the actual implant would have meant a failure, which we really shouldnt be having at this point so that was worrisome, but hey its me, right? So I was scared. But after quite a bit of stress he got the teeth back on.

I can honestly say I havent felt them this anchored in a while. It is so nice to be able to eat and move my jaw around and feel the teeth staying perfectly in place (for now I guess). The biggest problem is that they are only firmly down in 2 of the implants (the ones on either side in the back) because the two closer to the front had tissue collapse back over the hole and they werent able to get the implants screwed back in firmly. He said when they do the permanent ones they will have to remove some of the tissue covering those implants to get back to the hole, which of course doesnt sound pleasant, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. So I am running on only 2 implants being anchored to the bridge right now, a temporary fix, and it makes me nervous. As a result I am really limited still in what I can eat which sucks, because at this point I should have had the permanent bridge in and be able to eat almost anything but I still cant. I miss eating chips and sandwiches on rolls and steak. But hey right now I am just happy there are teeth in there still and that I can eat some things and go about and people dont stare at me like there is something wrong with my face(as much). Its funny and sad that after all the downfalls and issues I've had to deal with how my expectations and what I am 'happy' with have really lowered, huh? But such is life.

Just wanted to update. At this point its just a matter of trying to keep this bridge anchored and in one piece until they can pay the lab and finish my permanent bridge. God knows when that will be, but I am praying every day for a miracle.

Hope all is well with my readers out in blogland.