What was that surgery all about?

I had surgery on Friday of last week, and to save myself from having to give the abridged version for the millionth time, I’m writing up what went down here.

I started seeing a new dentist last year to begin the process of re-building some teeth that I’d lost years ago.  What we found was quite interesting — they don’t know what caused it, but essentially the bone in the top left portion of my jaw deteriorated over the years.

Which is why three teeth that were housed there came out on their own a few years back.  My jaw simply wasn’t strong enough to hold them in place anymore.

We’ve been working towards this procedure for the better part of the year, and it was finally time.  Our goal going in was to do a sinus lift, two bone grafts, and put in two dental implants.  Our plan changed as we made our way into it, I’ll detail why in a bit.

First off, the sinus lift.  Since my jawbone had become so thin, my sinus was literally in danger of breaking through my gum and ending up in my mouth, which according to the internet is incredibly painful and requires extensive surgery to repair.

The sinus lift works hand in hand with the bone graft.  Essentially they cut you open, use some special tool to jam the sinus up higher in your sinus cavity, and then jam some fake bone in behind it.  In my case, it was a mixture of composite material and cow bone. Gross, but true.

The surgeon had initially planned to do two bone grafts, but turned out to only need one once we got in there and started doing the work.

She’d also planned on doing two dental implants (to replace the 3 teeth I lost), and to put the third one once the bone graft healed.  Turns out, once we started, that the bone was weaker than she’d have liked where the second implant was supposed to go, so we had to hold off.

I’ve now got composite and cow bone jammed up into my face, and have to wait six months for it to heal.

At that point I can go back and have the other two implants put in.  Those then heal for 3 more months, and then I can have the crowns put on.

All in all, this is an incredibly expensive process.  Dental insurance is great if you need two cleanings a year, and maybe a filling. But if you need anything extensive done, it’s useless.  So far this year, I’ve spent about $30k on this process.

The surgery itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be.  It was probably because of the nitrous, which I got for the first time in my life.  I’m not sure if it’s supposed to make you as loopy as it did, but I was a) hilarious and b) exhausted.  I’m pretty sure I dozed off a couple of times.

Three hours had passed and they told me I was done. I could have sworn I’d only been in the chair for twenty minutes.  +1 for nitrous.

I feel fine now.  They said I’d be uncomfortable and would likely have a black eye, but I haven’t had any issues there.  The medication I’m on to fight the infection from the surgery gives me an upset stomach, and the pain medication makes me exhausted.  Needless to say, I haven’t been sleeping much the last few days.  Staying up with a sick stomach is not a ton of fun.

So there you have it, now you’re in the know about the surgery.  In just 9 short months I should be done with this process, and have some shiny new (fake) teeth where my jaw couldn’t support real ones anymore.

All of the price of an entry level BMW.

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