Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Dental Implant Experience

I had two dental implants placed on July 23rd by Dr. Curry at Arkansas Periodontal and Implant Associates. This is my journal for the week following the surgery.

Tuesday, July 23
My appointment was at 10am. When I got there, Dr. Curry's nurse took me back to a room that looked like a normal dentist room. Not like a scary operating room or anything. There was an IV bag and some instruments laid out. She asked me if I wanted a blanket and a neck pillow as it was rather cold and the chair had no neck support. I said yes. Anything to make this procedure more comfortable, I'm in. She took my blood pressure and left the band on my arm. She also took my pulse with the finger thing, which she also left on. Dr. Curry came in and I joked with him about who got to put my IV in. I have deep veins but he did well. Very minimal pain putting in my IV which was the catheter type so I could still bend my arm. They taped down my IV and Dr. Curry began telling me funny stories. It was nice to have something else to think about than what was about to happen. He instructed his nurse to take two x-rays. After about 15 minutes, he began.

He started by numbing the left side of my mouth. After that, I don't remember much. I'm a light-weight when it comes to those "calming meds" so I basically fell asleep. He woke me a few times to ask me if I was doing okay, which I was. I also woke a few times to them talking about the procedure. I also woke when he was drilling in to my jaws. Overall, the procedure was very easy on my part. When she leaned the chair back up I saw that it was about 12:30pm. The procedure took about two hours. The nurse put my Invisalign back in, ensuring that it did not interfere with where the implants were placed. She then took two more x-rays. The nurse explained to me that they grafted bone in two places and also did a sinus lift. She retrieved Tyson from the waiting room and gave me a few instructions... don't blow your nose for 24 hours, change this gauze after it fills with blood, and go get something to eat like a milkshake so the IV medicine doesn't make you sick. As she was telling me these things I noticed a lady was being walked out a door near me and I said "What did you do to that woman?" (jokingly... as she needed help walking). He said "Way more than I did to you!" Oh. Well that's a relief. Someone has it worse than me? Can't be true!

Tyson and the nurse helped me out to the car and I gave Tyson a few directions to get on the highway and then I fell asleep. I woke when we got to Joplin, about an hour later. I was moderately uncomfortable when we got home. I took out my Invisalign, which was half-filled with blood. Very gross. I changed my gauze and left my Invisalign out for a few hours. I was hungry so I made some soup. I waited to eat it until it was luke-warm. A numb tongue and hot soup does not mix well. I also ate some ice cream. Afterwards, I rinsed with a salt-water mix and then with the oral rinse they prescribed me. I laid down in bed and rested for a little while with a cold-compress on my cheek. When I woke up I was in a little bit of pain, but not bad. Mostly just uncomfortable from the strange sensations in my mouth and the numbing wearing off. I took some of my medicine and went back to bed. When I woke I made myself dinner which was more soup and ice cream. As I was finishing dinner Dr. Curry called to check on me. I told him that my face was really starting to swell. He instructed me to take 600mg of ibuprofen between my pain pill doses. I did as he said and noticed it really helped with the sore feeling in my mouth. I rinsed with the salt water and then carefully brushed my teeth. I also rinsed with my mouthwash and put my Invisalign back in. Afterwards, I went down to the office to get online. After a little bit I got so sleepy I nearly fell asleep in my chair. I went upstairs and laid down. I was asleep for about two and a half hours. When I woke I noticed the swelling was still pretty considerate. I kept the cold compress on it and prepared for bed time. I fell asleep around midnight and woke around 2:30am. I was very uncomfortable. My mouth was sore, I felt pressure, and the swelling was very bothersome. I began to cry a little, which was not good. I took my pain pill and fell back to sleep about 30 minutes later. I slept from 3:00am until about 7:00am.

Wednesday when I woke up, I looked like a chipmunk packing nuts for the winter. My face was very swollen. I could feel it in my eye. Luckily, I had very minimal pain and discomfort and very little blood. Dr. Curry's nurse called right as I was about to get out of bed. She asked how I was doing and I told her about the swelling. She said it's different for everyone, but noted that if I didn't sleep upright, then it would be worse. I slept semi-upright so I did the best I could. I took out my Invisalign to clean my mouth and did not put it back in... my poor mouth needed a break. I packed up my goodies-- phone, iPad, ice pack and went down stairs to get out of bed. I set up camp in the living room recliner. I spent most of the day laying in the recliner with my ice pack. I ate soup and ice cream for lunch and snacked on pudding and jello throughout the day. I continued with the 600mg of ibuprofen every 5 or 6 hours to help with the minimal pain and swelling. I left my Invisalign out until afternoon. I brushed and rinsed and put it back in and went back to my spot in the recliner. For dinner I was sick of soup so I had Tyson get me KFC mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese and pintos and cheese from Taco Bell. I was soooo full after eating all that food. Afterwards, I brushed my teeth and relaxed for a bit then went to bed.

Thursday when I woke up my face was still very swollen. I managed to take a shower and then most of the day I just sat in the recliner and watched TV. I retired my ice pack around noon that day. I had been using it religiously. I also took my Invisalign out for most of the day. I was very inactive and mostly just napped and relaxed. By afternoon, I felt some of my swelling had subsided. I did take another 600mg of ibuprofen so I'm sure that helped. I watched My Girl which I hadn't seen in years and it made me cry. Not sobbing just a few tears. This caused my sinuses to fill with snot. Lovely, right? I was completely full of snot so I very carefully and lightly blew my nose. My snot was mixed with a little bit of blood which I'm assuming is because of my sinus lift. I ate a late lunch of soup and ice cream and for dinner I had rainbow sherbert. My appetite was not quite what it had been the previous day. I didn't get to sleep until 1am.

Friday morning I woke around 8:00am feeling much more like my normal self. It was also the first night I had slept without waking up in the middle of the night. I got up and did some laundry and picked up the house a little. I didn't want to be too active too soon so I sat down for about an hour to rest. After I rested for a bit I took a shower and ventured out of the house for lunch. My face was still swollen but I sucked it up and put on a hat. We went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and I ate guacamole with a fork and ordered rice and refried beans. It was delicious! Much better than my Campbell's soup diet. After lunch I sat down at my desk to do some filing and noticed I had a runny nose. I blew my nose and had more blood mixed in with my snot. I tried calling Dr. Curry but their office was closed and he didn't answer his cell phone. I'm sure it is not a big deal but I just want to ask him. The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful. I didn't take any of my pain medicine or Advil at all that day.

Saturday morning I woke up after a terrible nights rest but I was on a mission! I got so much stuff done that day! I don't know how people go to work the day after dental implant surgery. Saturday was the first day I had felt well enough to function. I had no pain at all and swelling had gone down more since Friday. I did feel a little tight in my neck. I'm not sure if it was from poor sleeping positions (I'm still not sleeping on my left side) or that my lymph glands are swollen. My surgical site still felt different... hard to explain but definitely not "back to normal". I have also not chewed anything on that side of my mouth yet. Saturday for lunch I ate pasta and soup and for dinner I ate blueberries and yogurt. I took two Advil before bed to combat any residual swelling.

Sunday I woke up feeling great! I felt about 99% back to normal. Went about my day as I normally would and finished up my rounds of antibiotics. By Monday I was back to my normal routine.

Here are some photos showing my swelling.

My tips for an easy recovery...
- Relax and rest. Don't do house work or anything that raises your heart rate for at least three days.
- Get a pill box to store your medicine. I had to take four pills a day for my antibiotic. This box helped remind me to take the pill and how many more I had to take that day.

I had my stitches removed exactly two weeks later.

This is the upper implant.

Lower implant. Hard to see it because the gum tissue is growing over.

Today I am feeling great. I have had zero issues with the implants. Absolutely no pain, irritation, bleeding, or any issues for that matter. Sometimes I even forget about them! My next appointment is on November 14. He will be taking x-rays to make sure they are fused to the bone properly. I can't wait to see those x-rays and move forward with the crowns!

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.
Thanks for reading.


  1. Oh my lanta!!!! that looks painful..have you finally fully reconvered yet?

  2. thank you for posting this, Ive just had 2 implants done on Tuesday and have the chipmunk look but pain is very manageable. I am a scaredy cat with dentists but managed this without sedation and at times even felt relaxed... weird, glad I made the decision to do this.