November 2, 2011 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about your experiences with dental implants.

In a week and a half I'm getting a dental implant to replace a missing front tooth. Given the option to have it done in the office under local or in hospital under general, I went with first option as not only will it be cheaper, I assume the recovery from the anaesthetic will also be easier.
I plan to take 5-10mg of Valium prior to the procedure, which the surgeon says is fine with him.

A few months ago I had mandibular advancement surgery, at which time I also had a bone graft at the site where I'll be getting the implant. This is all with the same surgeon.

My surgeon, dentist, orthodontist and their staff act like this is nothing & that I should be fine to go back to work the day after.
I'm actually taking the day after off work, as I'll have to drive to my orthodontist (about 40 mins each way) to get a prosthetic tooth refitted over the implant site.

Please share your experiences of dental implants and your recovery. Were you able to return to work the next day? How long did you spend feeling miserable and sorry for yourself afterwards? How was the healing process?

I only had 2 weeks off work after the jaw surgery but I think I really should have taken another week. My short term memory was fucked for well over a month (and isn't great to start with) and I had really extensive bruising that took 4-5 weeks to completely fade (I was given blood thinners after the surgery). I'm concerned that the everyone is underestimating the recovery and I'll go to work on Wednesday looking & feeling like I've been in a car accident.
posted by goshling to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I assume you are already missing the front tooth this will be replacing (or how could they do the bone graft?) The implant will still need to heal for several (e.g. 5) months before you get the tooth. The operation itself is more annoying than the recovery. I would take the afternoon off, but expect to be almost normal by evening. I was given steroids to take to keep the swelling down which made me a little manic. I also needed to ice afterwards, but again, by evening, I was "normal."
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:15 PM on November 2, 2011

Your implant situation sounds really different than mine so we are possibly talking about two different kinds of implant procedures. My implant is my back lower molar, maybe it's different for front teeth? I broke my back molar (already had a crown) below the gumline so there was nothing my dentist could do to fix it. He pulled it right away (this was the most painful part of the process). I can't remember if he prepped the area for an implant at that time or if I went back for that. I did go back 3-4 months later and they put a temporary screw in where the tooth was and this was not a big deal and I didn't need time off. I waited another 3-4 months and went and had the permanent one put in. From what I remember all they did was screw a new tooth on top with some funky tools. It was incredibly fast and completely pain free. There were long waits between each procedure because my dentist said that the studies on implants said that they were more successful if you waited a long time for everything to heal. I didn't need any time off after any of my appointments-- and I'm a big baby when it comes to the dentist so when I say it was not a big deal, it really wasn't. But I was stressed and anxious before hand too. I have not had any problems with the implant and am quite happy with it.
posted by sadtomato at 6:19 PM on November 2, 2011

Side and back implants here. As best I can recall, the toughest part was taking out the teeth, which it sounds like you've already made it through. Your soreness from the later parts should be more along the lines of a root canal than a jaw surgery. (Unless front implants differ drastically from other kinds, that is.)
posted by Wulfhere at 6:33 PM on November 2, 2011

More anecdata: I have two implants so far. Getting the implants was not nothing, but it was less than the preceding extractions, and nothing compared to what you've been through. I was still taking Ibuprofen the next day, but worked a normal day without thinking about the implants.
posted by tyllwin at 6:51 PM on November 2, 2011

Just chiming in for emphasis, I'm with Seymour Zamboni and tyllwin. The worst thing about that last part of the whole procedure was the scraping noises in my skull. Didn't take anything beforehand and just a couple of Panadeine afterwards. Perfectly fine the next day.
posted by moody cow at 6:58 PM on November 2, 2011

I had an implant to replace a broken front tooth. Absolutely fine the next day. However, you do say you're getting "a prosthetic tooth refitted over the implant site".

I did this, which turned out to be a mistake. You have to be vary careful not to load the prosthetic at all during the healing process [quite a few weeks]. This is very hard to do.

My implant moved, and in the end failed [the implant did not bind fully to be bone]. The whole business had to be re-done. This time the surgeon covered up the implant with gum tissue until it healed fully & I wore a temporary plate - he said this was the "old way" of doing an implant.

Fortunately because the process was guaranteed, it all cost the same in the end.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:16 PM on November 2, 2011

I've got a front implant. Nth'ing above. The implant was no big deal. Everything up to it (extraction, bone graft) was unpleasant. I'd add that I originally had a cadaver graft, and when they opened up the gum they found that it hadn't taken. They then had to dig out the cadaver material and take the graft material from my jawbone. That was......awful.
posted by kjs3 at 8:12 PM on November 2, 2011

I had an implant for one of my incisors - top front. Extracting the tooth and putting in the post (I think that's what it was called) was almost ridiculously easy - took about 20 minutes, and hurt less than a root canal. (Local anesthetic only, no pain meds in advance except maybe an advil.) They made me a flipper, which was probably the worst part of the process, because I had to wear that stupid thing for months before they could attach the new tooth to the post. (They gave me the option of getting a temporary tooth attached by bridging it to neighboring teeth, but I didn't want them messing with teeth that didn't have any problems.) The flipper looked fine, but it took a while to get used to talking with it, and I never did master eating with it in. Nor did I enjoy taking it out to eat at work.

Worth it? Hell yeah.
posted by SpiralT at 10:56 PM on November 2, 2011

Whoa, that's not right. Sorry. They extracted the tooth and gave me a flipper, THEN implanted the post a few months later once the bone had healed. Main point stands, though - surprisingly little pain, and the actual dental work was the least sucky part of the whole process.
posted by SpiralT at 10:57 PM on November 2, 2011

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