Friday, December 05, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well

So the meeting with Dr. Shlosberg actually went really well. It turns out that I didn't fully understand the treatment plan or the sequencing. So Dr. S and I sat down and he explained it to me and so I now have a better understanding that I really don't know anything about prosthodontics or the sequencing of such. Dr. Shlosberg was more than happy to accommodate my financial situation and he is now working on a new plan to split my treatment up into four years, instead of 3 as originally planned.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tis the Season!

So I've stirred things up a bit. Its been percolating in my mind that I might have to revise my $80,000 treatment plan a bit. 2009 is year 2 for a total cost of $40,000+. This encompasses all of my upper teeth including "cosmetic" crowns for my front teeth. Cosmetic but also necessary as they all have fillings and/or are bonded. Anyway, Dr. Shlosberg did come up with a really creative plan. The problem is I don't want to go into debt and its unlikely that I could get a good equity loan at this point. So I decided to continue with the plan except that I would have the cosmetic crowns on my 6 front teeth done in year 4, after all of the other work is done. I have a meeting with Dr. S this morning, so we shall see how he responds.

In the meantime I saw Dr. Kaufman yesterday and he agrees with me. So I will have two upper implants and then 8 crowns on the upper back teeth to fix the drooping of those upper teeth. Then in year 3 (2010), the lower provisional crowns will be replaced to meet the upper teeth.

I'm sad that I have to wait to have the perfect smile that was the catalyst for all of this to begin with, but financially this makes sense.

Next stop -- root canal. Ick!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two Years Later

Its hard to believe that it was two years ago that I was being rolled into the OR at Santa Monica UCLA for my BSSO. I was SO nervous! I remember when it was all over and I woke up in the recovery room (with my legs buzzing) thinking that hey, this isn't so bad at all. And it really wasn't. The hardest part was looking in the mirror and seeing a Macy's parade balloon face. The days after the surgery were also a bit rough. I was tired, in pain, and hungry. Finding blogs from fellow orthognathic patients is what got me through those first hours and days. . . .

So here I am two years later. My bottom lip and chin are still pretty numb but even now I continue to get more sensation back. And I have five dental implants in my lower jaw! I never thought I could go through all this. Its so awesome!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crowns are on!

So I sat in Dr. Sholosberg's (my prosthedontist) chair for almost 3 hours yesterday morning. I was not a happy camper. For one thing, my gums are hyper-sensitive even just to brush. And there was a lot of pressing going on. So Dr. Shlosberg gave me novocain on both sides but it hardly worked. All it really did was make me anxious. Dr. Shlosberg did offer me a valium so I ended up telling him (an abbreviated version) of my benzo story. So no valium for me.

After fitting the crowns into place and then taking them off again, Dr. S put some sort of strings around the abutments to expose the abutments more (I'm assuming that since he placed them on five weeks ago, the gums may have closed around them. The strings really bured.

The crowns looked really beautiful but he had to really drill them down since my top teeth have come down so far. (That will be fixed when we do the upper next year). Two on one side, three on the other. And they are linked together. With spaces for me to clean between. So I was pretty upset that they didn't look quite the same after he had to whittle them down to fit my bite. That's what took the longest. He kept placing them on, asking me to bite down on the blue paper stuff, and then taking them off and adjusting. My gums really hurt and my bottom lip started to burn. I felt completely beat up by the time we were done.

I do have to say Dr. Shlosberg did a fabulous job. My bite is perfect. Its so strange having teeth back there and being able to really chew, after 32 years. Now I realize how inefficient the partial really was. I can't even imagine what its like have full dentures. Learning to chew is a challenge. I keep biting on my tongue on the left side.

I'm so glad I went ahead with the implants!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Abutments, healing caps, and more feeling is coming back

So I had another visit with my prosthodontist today -- actually two visits in one. He unscrewed and took off the healing caps and put the abutments on so that he could take the impressions for the crowns. It was not the most fun visit but I survived. Even though I'm still numb on my gums on the bottom, I'm also supersensitive, so when he started pushing the impression caps onto the abutments, it hurt like heck, in a prickly painful way. I was glad when that part was over. My bottom lip, which is still numb, was tingling like crazy.

Rather than take the abutments off and rescrew on the healing caps, he left them on. Better chance for accuracy, I think is how he explained it. Also, it would eliminate and in-between-visit before getting the actual crowns on. So he put (snapped on) white plastic healing caps on top of the abutments. Three of them came off when I ate my lunch. So much for snapping! Three weeks of this . . . I guess its back to soft chew.

Oh, and I've noticed lately that I am getting slightly more feeling back on the lower chin and lip.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Implant Update: Good News and Bad!

So I saw my surgeon yesterday. Of course I was a little anxious. This was the appointment where I would have an xray of my implants to find how my implants were doing. And the good news is yes, Dr. Kaufman was happy how the implants looked and in a few more weeks I can get the abutments and crowns put on. Yeah!! I'm so excited. But he also saw a shadow under a tooth on the bottom where I have a crown and told me I would need a root canal. Ugh!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Apparently what I need is a Booby-Lifty!

Did I mention that I will be 50 this year? Next month actually. So one of my old friends who moved away years ago was in town visiting. We decided to get together with another old friend at Gladstones last night. And they actually remembered my birthday was coming up so we ended up celebrating (a bit early) and we had a really really lovely dinner with a cake and everything. And they gave me a hand-made card that had a poem which I thought I would share:

Happy Birthday Poem for Mary Ann
Even though you're almost fifty
We still think you're really nifty
and even though our card is thrifty
It's filled with love and better than a gifty!
Anyway, we couldn't think of what to get
other than a booby-lifty

Isn't that sweat! And I'm having cake for breakfast! And its not even my birthday yet.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I feel liberated!

I didn't realize how liberating it would be to get rid of my partial. For example, after my jaw advancement I couldn't wear it for six months and I felt completely insecure without it. But hated it at the same time. My dentists over the years have all told me I should have implants and I just couldn't see myself going through the whole process. But now I'm so glad I'm doing it.

What's also interesting is when I tell other people about my implants, all of the sudden I'm findout out how many people have missing teeth. They are wearing bridges or dentures or just walking around with missing teeth. It certainly isn't something I ever wanted to reveal.

I am really excited that I won't ever have to wear a partial again!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Life (With Implants) So Far

So I feel like a jaw surgery veteran. I made it through the first week post surgery. The nerve repositioning was a bit more extreme than I thought it would be as my surgeon had to drill into the bone to move it over. There are some similarties to how I felt/feel between the two surgeries (not much pain except the mouth-waking-up pain; tingling, itching; numbness of the bottom gums, lip, chin) but there are also major differences. I was able to go back to work after 5 days and felt fine. I'm able to eat pretty well and probably won't lose much weight. The swelling and bruising are almost completely gone. Also, I realize now how much feeling I actually had now that its gone again.

I saw Dr. Kaufman yesterday and he was surprised at how little swelling I had left. He said everything looked good although my gums are still swollen and are growing over the caps on the implants on the left side (where I have 3) so he may have to cut the gum back. He gave me a really soft toothbrush to start brushing over the gums where the implants are. Next week the stitches come out.

As always I had a great visit with Dr. Kaufman. He had been to Tibet over the holidays and had interesting stories. He said there is very little of Tibel left as the Chinese are doing everything to destroy it and to anihilate the Tibetens who he said are really amazing people.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 4 Post #2 Surgery

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments and encouragement. Sometimes I question my sanity for going through all this at my age (I'll be 50 in April!). Not just for tearing up my gums for example, but for spending all this money. So its really nice to get your support.

As for the swelling, its already come way down. I still feel wiped out and beat up after the long surgery and my stomach is not too happy with the antibiotic and the anti-inflammatory (which I had to stop). Luckily I've had very little pain. Like with the jaw advancement & genio, my mouth is starting to wake up with twinges and zaps. Its interesting how numb I am again which does give me some indication of the feeling I had regained. My nerve is still intact and I am still hopeful of eventually getting all of my feeling back.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Implants are in! And the Macy's Balloon Face is Back!

So my surgery for 5 lower dental implants, nerve repositioning and a tooth extraction took about 5 hours which is longer than my BSSO took! The surgery was performed in the my surgeon's office and everyone was really great. I wasn't nearly as nervous. But I was surprised how awful I felt when I woke. I felt over-anesthetisized, my heart was beating too fast, I felt like I couldn't breath. Fortunately that didn't last too long and then Jeff was there to pick me up.

When I woke up this morning (after not much of a good night's sleep), I was really surprised to look in the mirror and see that I was about as swollen as I was a year ago. Hah, an old familiar face! And back on the old familiar soft chew diet. At least I don't have to contend with braces and rubberbands.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I have a surgery date!

January 25. 5 lower dental implants plus a wisdom tooth extraction. Yikes!