You may have a lot of questions about dental implants, and Summit Dental Center often tries to provide answers to those questions on these pages.
What can dental implants do for me? Do I qualify as a candidate? How long do dental implants last? What is the dental implant procedure? How do I pay for dental implants? How will they look?
We recently heard from a patient who shared her story in a letter that detailed her dental implant story, and how it affected her life. What better way to understand the profound impact dental implants can have on relationships and career prospects than to hear from an actual patient?
A dental implant patient’s experience (published with permission and edited for clarity)
My name is Stefanie T. (shortened to protect privacy) and I wanted to give you an update on the many ways my life has changed for the better since I received my dental implant.”
“I am in my mid-forties and, unfortunately, have lost several teeth to Type 1 diabetes. The fact that I was a smoker for much of my life probably didn’t help, either, nor did the unfortunate circumstance that I regularly delayed dental care thanks to a very real fear of the dentist. Incredibly, I opted to suffer the extreme pain my teeth were often causing me rather than put myself in the dentist’s chair.
One day, I couldn’t stand it anymore…one of my cheeks was swollen to chipmunk proportions, and OTC Ibuprofen no longer made a dent in the pain. With tears streaming down my face, I plucked up all my courage to schedule an emergency dentist appointment.
I felt extremely ashamed when I had to get my teeth x-rayed and opened my mouth for the general dentist who kindly squeezed me in on short notice. The years of neglect had finally caught up with me, but if my dentist was horrified at the state of my teeth, he thankfully didn’t show it.
The diagnosis, however, was grim: a total of five teeth couldn’t be salvaged and would have to be pulled. FIVE TEETH! Two of them were abscessed (the culprits of the unbearable pain!), and three others were in such horrible shape that even a root canal wouldn’t save them.
I left the family dentist’s office with prescriptions for painkillers and antibiotics, as well as an appointment with the oral surgeon for a teeth extraction the following week.
Long story short, I discussed my options to replace the soon-to-be missing teeth with my dental team and chose dental implants for two of the teeth that were located in the front of my mouth and therefore clearly visible.”
“To say I was nervous about getting 5 teeth extracted and two dental implants screwed into my jaw bone would be an understatement. Come to find out, my fears were completely unfounded. I had selected oral sedation beforehand to keep me happily oblivious during the procedure, and it worked like a charm. I didn’t feel a thing and was later told I even tried to joke around with the oral surgeon (I must have said some weird things – none of which I can remember, thankfully!).
When I came back to my senses later that day, the first thing I noticed was that I felt no pain. A little soreness, maybe, but nothing compared to the torture that sent me into surgery in the first place. Three of my teeth were simply gone, while the gaps of the other two in the front were covered by a tiny metal ‘cap’. (I didn’t qualify for immediate temporary crowns because I had needed bone grafts to accommodate those two dental implants.)
My recovery went off without a hitch. The surgical sites healed nicely and 6 months later I put myself into the dentist’s chair once again – this time with MUCH less anxiety! The dentist took impressions of my teeth and I selected the color of the porcelain crowns that would soon be placed on top of my dental implants.
A few days later I returned to receive the crown…and that’s when my life REALLY changed!”
A New Lease on Life
“I walked out of the dentist’s office and couldn’t stop grinning. No more missing teeth, no more hiding my mouth behind my shirt sleeve and, best of all, no pain! I ended up admiring my new look in every mirror and shop window I passed. The dental implants blended in perfectly with my natural teeth, both in color or shape and in the way they felt. There was no one who appreciated my new appearance and confidence more than I did.
That is to say, my husband did, too. Let’s just say my love life has improved dramatically! I’m no longer ashamed to kiss my guy, and we have resumed our date nights. I have even found the motivation to drop a few pounds and invest in a new wardrobe – that’s how much better I feel about myself now!
Things are going well at work, too. I have a new spring in my step that translates into more energy, a more fun and easy-going personality (or so I was told), and a more outspoken attitude.
Overall, I feel like a fog of depression I never knew I suffered from has lifted. It’s like the person I used to be has resurfaced, stronger and more confident than ever!
Of course, I have learned my lesson when it comes to avoiding the dentist. I get regular checkups now and promise I will take good care of the teeth I still have – starting with better diabetes management. Most of all, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the dental team that helped me get here. You guys are professionals through and through, and treated me with respect and dignity from start to finish.
I can’t thank you enough! The dental implants you gave me have truly changed my life.
If you’re curious to find out what dental implants can do for you, call Summit Dental Center to schedule a consultation at 713-425-0450 today!