Thursday, November 09, 2006

I had a gum graft today

My Molar (115_1514)Two years ago, I had a molar extracted and a bone graft in preparation for a dental implant. Long story short, the first implant failed, the second implant required an additional bone graft, and what should have taken less than a year took a year and a half. But, finally, after 18 months, I received my new tooth.Smile

That was 7 months ago.

Yesterday, I went to my dentist's office for my regular cleaning when the hygienist noticed that the gum on the buccal (cheek-side) of my implant was "interesting". Interesting is not a good word to hear from a dentist. It seemed to be a bit swollen and there was a fistula. So, they referred me back to my oral surgeon to have it checked out.

That same afternoon (still yesterday), I saw my oral surgeon and he was perplexed. After a brief discussion, it was decided that, perhaps, some bone graft material was trapped in the gum and the best solution would be to cut open the gum, clean it up a bit and stitch it back together. So, I scheduled my appointment for the next morning (this morning) and left with a feeling of dread.

So, I arrive at my appointment this morning, the assistant prepares my gums with some topical numbing agent and I'm brought into the surgical room. My oral surgeon administers some local anesthetic shots and begins digging around in my mouth. Luckily, I couldn't feel a thing during the whole process.

Afterwards, the doctor explained that my strong gum tissue had receded around my implant and had left behind only weak gum tissue, no bone graft material had been found, but that he had taken some spare strong gum tissue from just to the right of my last molar on the same side and placed it over my implant where the tissue was missing. This is known as a gum graft. He also placed some putty over the grafted gum and surrounding tissue to protect it while it heals. He then sent me home with painkillers and instructions to come back in a week to have the putty removed and to not chew on that side of the mouth until then.

The numbness has worn off and, luckily, I don't feel any discomfort or pain. So, I consider myself lucky and I hope that this is the end of my implant ordeal.

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