In case you missed it, my first blog post covered the initial planning stages of my dental implant process. Now friends, this was where the real fun began. My treatment plan included one upper jaw bone graft to build up bone density in my jaw, six upper implants that would eventually connect to a permanent upper bridge, and four lower implants to connect to a permanent lower bridge.
Overall, the procedures were surprisingly less unpleasant than I had convinced myself they would be. First up was my upper bone graft which was strategically scheduled to occur during my winter break. I learned pretty quickly that you don’t just decide to get a bone graft, show up for your surgery and call it a day.
Before surgery day there are decisions to be made and many things to consider. Luckily I had an amazing oral surgeon who helped explain everything to me. I wasn’t expecting to be asked to choose the type of material used for my graft. I’m far from a doctor so I won’t go into detail regarding the options laid out for me.
In the end I decided to go with a bone graft material that is not typically used in upper jaw bone grafts. If my memory serves me correctly, it was a material used in many other bone graft procedures but had not yet been established as a go-to material for the type of graft I was to receive. I made my choice in material. All that was left were some bone scans and x-rays to help the doctor see where I needed my bone built up.
On the day of the procedure I was freaked out. When they called me back to the pre-op room, I genuinely considered busting through the window and making a daring escape, never to be seen again. Instead, I did everything the doctors asked me to do and was quite polite.
In the O.R. being strapped into the chair, I was really freaked out. I guess I was scared of something going wrong but most of all I think I was scared of the unknown because once this surgery was done, there would be no backing out of the implants. I’d be in it to win it. The good news was that I didn’t have much time to freak out because I was administered anesthesia and fell asleep, but not before giggling uncontrollably.
I emerged from surgery jovial and puffy. I was still alive. One procedure down and two to go. The healing process after the bone graft surgery was pretty easy. I quickly learned that the prescribed pain medication did not agree with my stomach, so I decided to forgo pain medication. Fortunately I experienced almost zero pain post surgery.
This is not to say I wasn’t uncomfortable, but what I experienced was more along the lines of soreness and general discomfort. The two weeks following my bone graft surgery I lived off of Netflix and mac & cheese. I am weird and believe firmly that soup is NOT a meal so I insisted on eating somewhat solid foods.
Eating wasn’t an issue. I just had to be aware of my stitches and lay off of anything crunchy. The one negative side of my recovery was that I experienced facial swelling. For about two weeks following my surgery I looked like I had met the business end of a shovel. The swelling wasn’t fun but as I mentioned before, it was not painful; just slightly uncomfortable.
With one surgery in the can, I returned to my normal routine. At this point I was eager to keep the process moving so I could finish as soon as possible. The only catch was I needed to wait at least 6 months between surgeries to make sure my graft built up enough bone.
So with that in mind, I took a six month breather and focused on being a college student, albeit with appointments every few weeks to check on how my healing was progressing. Once I got the green light from my oral surgeon, the next procedure would be the first of two implant surgeries.
TO BE CONTINUED…
(Read Part III of Jacob’s story.)