“Say ‘hello’ to my little friend”

18 July 2016 § 2 Comments

The other night, while re-watching the series Breaking Bad, the protagonist, Walter White, and his son, Walt Jr., were watching Scarface. The film was near its climatic end with Tony Montana defending his cocaine empire when he utters these memorable words right before opening a door with a grenade launcher.

In case you’ve never seen the film, here’s a clip of the scene I’m describing.

As I heard these words, I thought it would be the perfect phrase for introducing my new tooth. Sounds bizarre, right? Let me explain.

Albeit not as explosive as a grenade, my new tooth is a gamer changer. And it has made a significant impact on my life and, dare I say, those around me.

Not only am I able to eat with confidence on the left side of my mouth again, I know that when I smile a gaping hole isn’t visible.These renewed abilities have improved my overall well-being and disposition, which positively affects those I meet.

I also believe that with the new tooth in place, I am also experiencing fewer headaches. When the tooth was missing, the surrounding and opposing teeth seemingly were moving all the time, which added extra stress to my jaw muscles. I believe this was the source of my uncommon headaches.

But maybe you’re curious about the new tooth itself? What is this thing that has made my life complete? Well, I’ll describe it and recap the process of getting it to you now.

As you may remember, I went through a surgical procedure back in December 2015. I know what you’re thinking: I never described this procedure in detail, and I probably never will either. There really wasn’t anything to it.Sufficed to say, my ruined natural tooth was replaced with a dental implant.

Following a couple months of healing, I returned to the clinic and had impressions taken, see my “Making a good impression” entry.

From these physical and digital impressions, my new tooth was designed.

VAD

I actually received two different teeth. The first, or temporary, was an all-in-one solution that was screwed onto the implant (left image below). The second, or final, tooth was comprised of two parts: an abutment and a separate crown (right image below).

new teeth

The abutment was screwed onto the dental implant, then the crown was glued onto the abutment. Both solutions could have worked as a final tooth, but my clinician thought the esthetics of the cemented solution were better.

To finalize my case, one last x-ray was necessary. This was taken so see that the bone around the implant was healing nicely. And in my case, it was.

Final x-ray

I will return in a year for another confirmation x-ray, but all indications are my “little friend” will be with me for a very, very long time. So, say ‘hello’.

thumbs up

On my mind

14 July 2016 § Leave a comment

Just wanted to let everyone know I haven’t forgotten about following up my experiences getting a dental implant. I actually starting writing on June 6. I promise, soon.

“…first impressions are often correct…”

26 April 2016 § Leave a comment

The title of this post comes from Talking Heads’ song “Seen And Not Seen,” on their album Remain In Light.

It means that what you see is often what the object wants you to see, or what you see is often what is.

This objectivity is crucial in placing and designing restorations for dental implants. When it comes to the final tooth aesthetics, the task of matching color is purely subjective, but the underlying foundation needs to be exact.

Acquiring this exactness is the function of dental impressions. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is from impressions, the dental laboratory creates the foundation for the future tooth.

Below is a 3D rendering of my mouth created from a stone model – scanned and created from an impression.

CAD file

Within this digital world, the dental technician creates prostheses that perfectly match the real-world.

Next up…my new tooth is delivered.

Making a good impression

15 April 2016 § 1 Comment

So my first appointment to finalize my new tooth went without a hiccup.

My dentist, Lasse Almgen, was very pleased with the way things look and have healed; after determining the best color for my new tooth (based on my remaining teeth), he took impressions of my upper and lower jaws.

These impressions are used by the dental laboratory to fabricate a model of my mouth and the final components of my new tooth: an abutment and ceramic crown (see Final restoration in the diagram below).

Taking the lower impression was straight forward, and it will show how my lower jaw fits with my upper one. But before taking the upper impression, Lasse replaced the healing abutment with an impression coping or implant pickup (see Impression in the diagram below).

The impression coping is a special device that will remain in the impression, letting the dental laboratory know the position, rotation, and angle of the actual implant in my mouth. The impression was taken using an open-tray technique.

From the impressions, the laboratory will make positive models of my upper and lower jaws. Before creating the upper model, an implant replica will be attached to the impression coping (see Model in the diagram below). This replica mimics the implant in my mouth, and will remain in the model, providing a platform for the final abutment and crown.

Once all pieces are created, the laboratory will send everything back to Lasse. Since I am not involved in the laboratory process, I am glossing over many steps needed to produce the abutment and crown.

Below is a diagram of the restoration process for my case:

restoring on implant level 3

After the impressions were taken, Lasse reattached the healing abutment and sent me on my way. In total, yesterday’s procedure took only 40 minutes – less time than my drive to the clinic!

Next steps

13 April 2016 § Leave a comment

I realize that I never finished the story of getting my implant placed…oops.

Time does fly. So quickly in fact that tomorrow I’m heading in for the first of three appointments to finalize my new tooth.

I figure they will begin by examining the implant site to see how things have healed. And, most likely, they will take an impression from which the abutment and final tooth will be produced.

I promise to provide details later.

Together again

13 March 2016 § Leave a comment

A copy of weeks ago, my extracted tooth was returned to me.

I felt a sense of wholeness, uniting the missing pieces of my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Part 1: Out with the old…redux

27 January 2016 § 2 Comments

Well over a month ago my left upper premolar was removed because the tooth was irreparable.

Today, I thought everyone might like to see a couple of x-rays of the natural tooth before it was removed:

The bone surrounding the root was of most interest to Lars-Magnus Almgren, the clinician who placed my implant; he needed to know that there was enough bone present to support an implant. X-rays confirmed there was ample bone in the spaces between the surrounding teeth and the sinus cavity above.

To confirm the bone volume circumferentially, a different type of picture was taken. A CBCT, mine taken at the Brånemark Center in Gothenburg, is a sectional scan that provides clinicians with a 3D image of the entire jaw, which then used to plan dental implant placement.

Although not my case, the above screenshot gives you an idea of the planning control a clinician can benefit from, before actually performing surgery. Even for “routine” cases, this extra investigation goes a long way in avoiding complications. But this level of sophistication does come with a higher price tag.

Coming up next: Part 2: In with the new.

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