I've had a dental implant for over two years now. Many years ago one of my molars got a bad cavity and it was in need of attention. For a few years I lived with a filling. Then it got deteriorated to the point that it required a root canal and a crown. Root canals aren't as scary as some people imagine. They're just an annoying procedure with a long Novocain hangover. I've had a couple done and can't recall having a horrible experience. The trick is to have them done by someone who has the proficiency. A few years passed and the crown dislodged. Turns out the molar had become too rotten to provide a base for that crown and I was finally forced to have it pulled altogether. I had three options at that time. Get a bridge, get an implant, or live with the gap.
I chose the easiest and cheapest option. I just left it empty. I was warned that having that gap in my teeth would cause the other teeth to close in to fill in the empty space, resulting in more trouble later on with crooked teeth and other gaps opening, so I resolved to get it fixed as soon as I was mentally and financially ready. Six years passed and during a visit at an oral surgeon's office to have an impacted wisdom tooth pulled, I decided that it was time to get the gap filled with an implant. Luckily, during that long period my surrounding teeth had maintained their position and hadn't leaned in to fill the empty spot. There was also the risk of bone loss in that area, making it difficult to install the implant, but again, fortunately, my jaw bone apparently hadn't been affected too negatively. And so after the agony of having my wisdom tooth pulled out in pieces, the surgeon screwed in the titanium base for the implant. The procedure involved drills, ratchets, and wrenches; I felt like I was in a machine shop being worked on by a mechanic. Robocop would have been proud. A few months later, with the screw base tightly bound to my jaw bone, I finally received the crown and once again I had a full set of teeth.
Dental implants, if installed right, are truly a miracle of modern medicine. They work and feel just like natural teeth and in some respects they are even better as they are supposed to last a lifetime without the risk of cavities. As long as proper care is taken to keep them clean, one wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Except that last weekend, while eating, I suddenly felt the crown being tossed around in my mouth. The cement had deteriorated and the crown had come loose. I wrapped the crown in a napkin and went about my weekend with the implant's base exposed, an unnatural looking peg sticking out of my gum.
Going to the dentist today to have the crown reset, I inquired about the reason why the supposed permanent fixture had come loose. The answer was that my dentist had opted to use temporary cement instead of the permanent kind. That would make the removal much easier should there ever be a need to work in the area to correct possible problems. The downside was that during the two-day weekend period the gum tissue had grown around the base causing a painful pinch when the crown was positioned on top. It sure felt uncomfortable when I saw the dentist sticking what appeared to be a razor blade in my mouth to remove the excess gum. A few cuts here and there and the crown was back in its place with another gob of temporary cement. It was ready for service immediately.
As far I know, dental implants aren't suited for everyone. Apparently they require strong jaw bones for anchoring with enough distance from nerves and other parts to avoid damage to one's face. They are also expensive and receive little or no coverage from many insurance plans. But if you are a suitable candidate to receive one, they may be worth a look. Just make sure it's done by a skilled oral surgeon.
dental implants,dentists,oral surgeons,teeth,tooth decay,cavities,root canal,crowns