My Flipper: And the Dental Implant Saga – Part I

A few months ago, I went to the dentist. They said my tooth was falling out:

5014365

As you can see, it’s not really a normal tooth. [Hint: see post.] It needed to be removed as it was causing bone loss in other teeth. [Please note: in the interests of TMI some graphic photos follow.]

See, when I was ten, and like many most kids, I was pretty curious. Friends of my parents bought a new home in Sangerville and we (Mom, Dad, Bill and me) went to check it out. When we were in the kitchen I noticed this really cool closet and investigated. I walked in and… you guessed it, fell down a flight of stairs. The only damage, I broke my two front teeth. Since then I’ve had 2 sets of caps, bonding and and then crowns. Until now.

To fix, the best, and really only, option (other than going around with a hole in my mouth) was to have a dental implant with crown installed. What they’d do is: remove the tooth; insert a titanium implant; surround the implant with bone grafting; and, when it heals and sets, install the crown. The kicker, it will take at least 6 months to heal/set. The solution: a flipper, a retainer-like object with a fake tooth attached. The good news was that only one tooth needed to be done.

So I procrastinated for a few months, got the money together (because the best option, is, of course, the most expensive) and made my appointment to get my implant on.

The plan. Get fitted for flipper. Get fitted again. Go to oral surgeon, get tooth extracted and implant installed. Then go to the dentists and get flipper fitted (again.)

I take a couple of before pictures:
Dental Implant and Flipper FunDental Implant and Flipper Fun

A little snaggly, huh?

The worst part of the oral surgery was the shots for the local anesthetic. The rest was only uncomfortable because I kept thinking about what they were doing. The extraction itself went very smoothly. The surgeon said “First, I’m going to remove the crown, and then we’ll do the tooth.” He pulls on the crown and… the whole tooth comes out:
Dental Implant and Flipper Fun

The offending dent.

Then the implant was installed. Which was weird. Not at all painful. Just weird. It was screwed in or something. Then cadaver bone was packed around the implant (that’s the bone grafting. I hope I got a nice person!)

Next I drove to my dentist’s office here in Westbrook (see, because I had local anesthetic I was able to drive) and had my flipper installed.

After:
Dental Implant and Flipper FunDental Implant and Flipper Fun

Realized I looked really bad in the first picture, so I made sure to smile in the second one!

This is my flipper:
Dental Implant and Flipper Fun

It looks better in my mouth!

And here are some after pictures:
Dental Implant and Flipper FunDental Implant and Flipper Fun

Side by side comparison:
Dental Implant and Flipper FunDental Implant and Flipper Fun

Before and After

The flipper sits in my mouth much like a retainer would. I can eat with it, but I can’t use it to bite or tear food. Today I had a huge piece of bread at lunch and took too big of a bite, the flipper flopped right out of place. If I keep the amount of food in my mouth small, it is usually pretty manageable.

For the first week and a half the flipper was very uncomfortable, it wasn’t until this past Monday that it didn’t hurt to put in in the morning. However, I am really happy with how it looks. And I like freaking people out with it.

One of the scary things is that it is possible for an implant to fail. Yikes. And I won’t even find out how it’s going until I’ve had the implant for four months.

All-in-all, I have to say that, so far, the implant procedure has been a relatively smooth process. And I would recommend it, especially for visible teeth. Of course, I might say something different later, so check back in a few months.

——————————-
Edited to add: I added a follow up My Flipper: And the Dental Implant Saga – Part II on November 20, 2011. Check it out!

  • Pingback: My Flipper: And the Dental Implant Saga – Part II()

  • Ana Gallardo

    I’m so glad to have read this. My xray looks just like yours. I am getting a flipper the day after Thanksgiving and won’t get the implant until next year. I too have been doing google searches only to end up in tears. The medical aspect is so…impersonal. This post really makes me feel so much better. Thank you for putting your experiences out there.

  • http://twitter.com/_FreekyZeeky Ez Fo Sheeze

    I’m also going thru the implant process and just received my flipper yesterday. Pretty uncomfortable the first few minutes I put it in but after hours throughout the day it doesn’t really bother so much . My gums do still hurt thou as I had stiches where the bone is so that really hurts from time to time. I just hope the implant comes out well in the next 6 months , all I can do Is wait and pray . Good luck on yours!

  • Aaron Currie

    I have a question I left the dentist with tbd flipper in should I leave it in and let it heal or keep it out until my gum gas completing stopped bleeding to have it in

  • Sharon

    Thank you so much for your story! This is almost identical to my situation. I have had the flipper in for 3 days & supposed to start removing at bedtime, but I’m afraid to remove it & maybe not be able to get it back in! I am also finding it so difficult to chew my food! Thanks for all the comments!