Saturday, May 02, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

Well, it's finally time to pay for getting my two front teeth knocked out in a car accident back when I was 19. I was driving my first car, a 1971 Buick Apollo, to work on El Camino Real in Encinitas. People used to park the used cars they wanted to sell on a long stretch of the road. I had distracted myself by checking them out and didn't notice the red light. I saw the mini-van in front of me too late as I slammed on the brakes and everything went black.

My ancient car had only a lap-belt so I smacked the steering wheel with my face. I woke up with one of my front teeth sitting on my tongue. All I remember is a nice lady stroking my hair as I lay groaning across the front seat. The firemen found my other tooth between the seat cushions before I left in the ambulance to the Emergency Room. An oral surgeon was able to put my teeth back into my mouth, held in place with metal braces until they healed. He said they should last about thirty years before they need to be replaced. Now, my dentist is recommending I replace them with dental implants after a little less than twenty years. I am pretty nervous.

Update: 6/19/09

I am sitting here on a Friday without my two front teeth. It was pretty brutal getting them removed yesterday, but the pain is not too bad. I haven't needed to take any of the Vicodin I was prescribed which is a good sign. I have the rest of the weekend to heal up before going to work on Monday. Now I just have to hope I heal properly so I can get the dental implants in five months to replace my front teeth.

Noah the Vampire is in a state of shock
Update: 7/6/09

I had my three week check-up today. The oral surgeon says the bone graft is healing well so far. Except for an annoying sore throat that was bothering me for two weeks, I haven't had much pain.

Update: 7/27/09

I had most of my stitches removed today. Not too fun, but the doctor says everything is healing very nicely. I am starting to get used to my new look when I am not wearing the Invisalign. I feel like a Hockey player.

A great look, a mohawk and no front teeth.
Update: 8/17/09

My last check-up before my trip to South America next month. My doctor says he is very happy on how everything looks. This makes me very happy as well.

Update: 10/6/09

I just finished my trip for three weeks in South America. I had been worried about having to deal with my missing front teeth on this trip, but it was pretty hassle free.

Update: 11/1/09

I took advantage of my look by dressing up as a hockey player for Halloween. It was very fun.

Hockey player in the Gaslamp Quarter

Update: 12/18/09

After healing for six months, I had a CT Scan today. It is a detailed 30 second X-ray that the doctor will use to create a study of my upper jaw for the implants. I am now at the half-way point of this whole procedure.

Update: 1/27/10

Today, I went into my dentist to have an impression made of the gap in my upper teeth. The oral surgeon called yesterday to tell me that he has finished the implant study of my CT Scan. I am relieved that the graft has healed correctly with enough bone to place the implants and he can now order them from Belgium. Computer-guided robots create the stents that he will use to accurately guide the drilling location.

Update: 3/9/10

I had the titanium implants inserted under my gums today and the doctor said it went perfectly. I am sore right now, but the procedure was not as long as the first. He also grafted a little more bone on the front for extra stability of the implants. Now, I just need to heal up for about six months before he attaches the abutments.

Update: 4/29/10

My third checkup was good. I had a mild infection after the surgery so my doctor kept me on antibiotics for an extra three weeks to be safe, but now everything is healing nicely.

Update: 9/16/10

So close to the end. Today I had my last operation with my oral surgeon to place the healing abutments onto my implants. It was the quickest of the three operations (thirty minutes) and I didn't even need stitches afterwards. I now have two shiny metal bits sticking out through my gums. After the gum tissue has fully healed in a month, my dentist will take over to replace the healing abutments with permanent ones and attach the crowns. I will have my new teeth a week before Thanksgiving.

Update: 10/19/10

I'm finally completed healed. Today, my dentist took the final impression so he can order the titanium abutments and computer-designed crowns. One more month to go.

Updated: 11/2/10

I no longer have to wear the Invisalign tray on my upper teeth anymore. After attaching the new gold-plated abutments which made me look like a blinged-out vampire, my dentist crafted some temporaries for my front teeth. I can now smile and eat like normal human being. The temps will be replaced by the final crowns in two weeks.

Updated: 11/30/10

I have finally arrived at the end of my journey this morning when my dentist put on my permanent crowns. I am so happy. Perfect holiday timing considering how I titled this post eighteen months ago. I ended up wearing the temps for almost a full month since the final crowns weren't completed by the lab in time. The temps looked good but they didn't feel natural against my tongue like these custom designed crowns do.

Happy Smile!

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