dental, Germany

I survived the first big dental procedure… Dental implants in Germany

I got up early this morning, as usual, and did my regular Tuesday morning cleaning.  Bill heard the shower running and wondered if something was wrong.  I told him I was cleaning it, which is my usual Tuesday chore.  I added that I needed to do something to be useful.

Bill said, “You don’t have to do that.”

“If I don’t do it, who will?” I asked.  “It won’t get done if I don’t do it.”

Bill said, “I can do it.”

I said, “No, I have to do something useful.  You don’t have to earn all the money AND do the housework.”

So he went downstairs and made me a nice breakfast.  I told him I wanted something substantial because I didn’t know when I’d be up to eating once the procedure was finished.  We had eggs, biscuits, bacon, and grits, along with juice and coffee.

Then we went to the dentist, where I was given two Ativan tablets about an hour before the procedure started.  They were glad I’d had breakfast because the Ativan supposedly causes upset if it’s taken on an empty stomach.  I had been expecting Valium, but I guess Ativan was considered a better drug for this particular procedure.

The Ativan made me feel very calm.  Not high or silly, but just very even keeled and calm.  Dr. Blair took an x-ray of my mouth, then led me into an exam room, where he started shooting me up with numbing agents.  That was a rather uncomfortable part of the experience, because a couple of the shots were in my palate and they hurt.  Once I was numb, the assistant put a large blue drape with a hole in it over my face, positioning it so my nose and mouth were exposed.  They offered me a blanket if I wanted it.  They also offered to make the hole in the drape larger so I could see more.  I kept my eyes closed for most of the procedure, which took about an hour or so.

Because the tooth being replaced was in an upper area near my sinus, Dr. Blair had to do a sinus lift, which involves, cutting into the gum and raising the bottom of the sinus so that the implant post has more room.  Since no bone was taken from my body, my guess is that Dr. Blair used some kind of bone graft material to build up the bone in the area where the implant is going.  I was thinking he was going to place the implant today, but I honestly don’t know if he did.  He did use a drill, which was very noisy and rather unpleasant as it made a hole in my bone.  There were a couple of times when it felt like he was screwing something in, but I didn’t ask him what he did.  I’m sure he’ll tell me what’s next when we get the stitches taken out.

At one point, I had some trouble managing all the crap in my mouth and I had to sit up and catch my breath.  I had started gagging and was afraid I was going to be sick.  Dr. Blair said it was because my nose was partially numb and couldn’t feel the air coming through it.  He and his assistant kept telling me to breathe through my nose.  I had to sit up and spit out some blood, despite the assistant’s attempts at suction.

There was a little more drilling and then I could feel Dr. Blair placing sutures.  This was the first time I’ve ever had stitches of any kind, so that was a strange experience.  I could feel the thread against my nose, but not him placing them in my gum tissue.  Finally, he was finished and I had another panoramic x-ray taken.   He asked how the Ativan was for me.  I said it made me feel fine.  Very calm and not nervous at all, yet not euphoric or anything.  He indicated that he doesn’t use it very often in his practice.  I guess many Germans are more stoic than we Americans are.

Bill and I went into his office and Dr. Blair gave us detailed post op instructions, along with prescriptions for 600 milligram ibuprofen, antibiotics, and a mouth rinse.  He advised me to use cold packs and look out for excessive swelling and bleeding.  I go back next week to have the stitches removed.

Bill had the car prepared with a pillow.  He helped me into the car, ignoring all the people lurking for our spot, strapped me in, and drove me home.  I went to bed and slept for a good portion of the afternoon after waking up for some soup and water.  The dogs slept with me.

I’m now up and feeling a little groggy and there’s minimal discomfort where the work was done.  Otherwise, I’m feeling pretty functional.  I’m glad I had Bill with me, but I have a feeling that if I’d had to, I could have made it most of the way home via train.  The worst part about today’s procedure was the noise of the drill and the feeling that I was going to gag.  Dr. Blair and his assistant handled it well, though.  I’m feeling somewhat better than I expected.

I like Dr. Blair.  He’s a very nice man and treated me with a lot of kindness, concern, and compassion.  When he mails us the bill, maybe I’ll feel less magnanimous.


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