Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 241. I’m starving. I bite into a spoonful of much anticipated turkey chili I have just spent the last two hours preparing. My taste buds explode as it reaches my tongue but my teeth are a different story. I feel an odd pressure near the site of the big hole in my mouth—AKA my dental implant. Yes, I have a screw in my head. I hope it isn’t loose. I’m so hungry I ignore the weird almost pain and eat up the yumminess. As I start to clean up the dishes after, I run my tongue over the gap to my gum. I can feel a big bump that was not there this morning. Uh oh. I run to the bathroom to look. There’s a swollen nodule at my surgery site. I’m screwed. The emotional trauma of missing a tooth continues. (I gave full mortifying disclosure on Day 83: Necessary vs. Unnecessary Stops if you want some backstory.)
The number one reason dental implants fail is infection. At over five months post surgery, my oral surgeon and I feel quite confident I’m out of the woods. Not so fast. I don’t rush over to his office because it’s rush hour. It takes over an hour to get there with traffic. Uh-Mazing Romantic Partner drives. Thank god. I’m too busy freaking out about how I’m going to have to go another year without a tooth and how I’m going to have to have a surgery where they remove bone from my hip and put it into my upper jaw. Uh-Mazing Romantic Partner assumes my usual role: Positive Polly. “This looks like a very minor infection to me. I think you’re doctor is going to fix that right up with some antibiotics and you’ll still be on track.” What a love. Did I ever tell you I won the man lottery? 10 years in December and I’m still counting my winnings.
When my oral surgeon takes a look, he is very concerned. “It’s definitely infected.” I had just had a follow up with him 10 days ago and it was fine. “It was fine yesterday morning. This just popped up!” “I’m in the middle of a surgery, hang tight. I’ll be back. I’m going to cut it open and clean it up and see what’s going on.” I was afraid of that.
Emergency oral surgery sucks. Needles, injections, blood, a lot of scraping and screwing and some discomfort and pressure later, I have an additional metal piece in my mouth. Turns out, the implant is very secure in my bone. That’s the good news. The Osseo integration has apparently been successful. The infection was in the gum. But still. “Why now?” my oral surgeon says out loud. Bottom line, the infection could foreshadow sinister implications.
After he’s done cutting open my gum and doing his thing, he says, “this isn’t a set back yet.” “Really?” I respond, totally skeptical. “Let’s see how this heals and where we’re at over the next month or so.” I obviously won the oral surgeon lottery too. He’s positive and kind.
I’m on heavy-duty antibiotics for the infection, I have painkillers if I need them and I have to go back again this morning for a follow up to see how it looks. So, we’ll see! Fingers crossed. My plan is to stay positive and keep going, keep creating from what I have. That’s all I can do.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…set backs.