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Preparing for full extractions, implants, dentures (LONG!)

J

Jackalwi

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
Hello all, first time poster.

Suffice it to say, my mouth is a mess at 30 years old. Between too much sugary drinks, not enough brushing, and smoking, the sum total of my mouth is pretty well trashed. Prior to January 2014, I hadn't actually been to the dentist in a very long while, and the last time I had was to repair a chipped tooth about 10 years ago. Well, in the 2013-2014 Christmas/New Years season, I had developed a raging abscess on my back molars on my left side. I had been "fine" up until trying to eat something on that side, and within a few days, was in such horrible pain that I took myself to a nearby chain-store kind of dentist office.

The first dentist pretty much gave me a prescription for some amoxicillin, and a mild "once a day" pain killer that did more to put me to sleep than actually calm any pain. The abscess resided after a few days (it didn't feel totally under control until about 4 days after starting the pills). The second visit, he had a better chance to look around my mouth, and indeed could see that my mouth is just screaming to have all the worn down, rotted, cavity ridden teeth pulled. He said he could save about 7 or 8 teeth and get partial dentures to fit on them, and in total the procedure would cost around $10,000.

Initially satisfied that the abscess was taken care of, and not in pain, I waited for the response from the Care Credit people to see if I could be accepted (which I was not). So here I am, unable to pay for a procedure I apparently need.

Insert a couple month interval. Another abscess forms, this time under a tooth on my other side, and I'm back at the dentist's. Considering the rate of decay, the doctor is assuming that none of the teeth can realistically be saved, and after the whole amoxicillin treatment to get the infection under control, he's saying I need full dentures. The cost figure increases to around $14,000. I still can't get a credit plan to approve me, and don't have anyone willing to co-sign for this amount, so essentially I need a procedure I can't pay for.

During all this time - and even time before it, I'd known my mouth was horrid. I did plenty of research on my own to get an idea of all the procedures out there, the general prognosis, and long term risks & benefits. With dentures at this age, my bone would need grafts before age 50; basically dentures aren't exactly a "long term, permanent" thing, and I'd be looking at dumping even more money into my mouth than just the $10k-14k down the road.

My mother eventually suggested I see her dentist; for such a big procedure it's obviously wise to see what other professionals have to say, and I think she was in a sort of denial that all of them needed to come out. But alas, even he said the same thing (at least he didn't talk down to me or try to shame me, apparently in my area it isn't so completely uncommon to see people in my condition, he said). He referred me to a dental surgeon to have a consultation, and off I went that same day.

What the surgeon had to say basically confirmed what my own research had said. Ultimately, his suggested treatment plan is to go with a removable denture on top, and a permanent implant with a reinforcing bar across the bottom. This would keep the majority of my bone along my lower jaw from receding too much with age (though not necessarily cutting out the need for eventual grafts, just pushing that back a good long time). The extractions to be done in a staged manner - when I go in for the first appointment, I'll be put under, and most/all of my molars//"grinding" teeth will be removed. After 6 weeks of healing time, the rest will be pulled as well. This mostly to give the final resulting permanent a better fit from the impressions they'll do of my gums.

After everything is out, I'll have holes drilled in my jaw bone, and have 4 titanium rods screwed in there. The temporary denture made from the dentist will be attached on the bottom, and my full top temporary will be ready to go (these will be made from impressions before anything is pulled out -- this part I'm kind of nervous/anxious about because my teeth are in really horrible shape, and I never did like the feeling of choking on glorified plaster, nevermind the awkward feeling of them removing it, I guess a fear would be the impression process itself actually pulling a tooth or two out o_O)

After the temporaries are in, I'm basically set for 4 months of straight healing, and learning how to eat again, nothing but soft foods (which I already pretty much prefer as it is - I won't need to change all THAT much about what I eat).

After the 4 months of healing & soft foods, I'll be set for having the permanent teeth placed. With a pretty general torque test to make sure the titanium rods are fused to/with the bone, the bottom temporaries come out, and my permanent ones "installed". Then I'm handed my permanent tops, and can basically eat whatever I want.

In total the whole implant procedure & top dentures will cost about $30,000 - but it won't run the risk of having partials fail due to their attached real teeth failing and just running me into this situation later down the road. I still don't know how I'm going to even begin to pay for it, even the longest term credit/loan isn't that great a deal, or that I'll even be accepted by them. Unless or until I get the money, or a payment plan set up some how, I can't get the treatment I need (whether it's the lesser cost, less longterm benefit $10-14k option, or the shiney implant $30,000 option).

I thought I'd just share this with a community that will listen, I'm thinking about starting a journal-type post (maybe this one should have been considering it's length, lol), but unless or until I get the money to actually go forward with the procedure, there really isn't a whole lot to say other than "Didn't get an abscess today" or "I haven't had a tooth fall out on it's own yet".


Thanks for reading


too long didn't read (just cuz I know it's a long post)
I'm a 30 year old male, who will very likely have everything pulled, with a full implant on the bottom and removable full denture on top.
 
B

BioMan

Member
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
40
Location
UK
What a difficult and traumatic time for you. However, you seem to have a really sound plan to address your problem and that's brilliant :) My very best wishes for the future - hope all goes well for you.
 
carole

carole

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Jan 5, 2012
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Hi WELCOME to the forum :jump::jump::jump:

I did read it and it isn't too long, you did a good job of describing your situation. I am in the UK, I don't know where in the world you are but the $ does give me some idea, here in the UK we have dental teaching hospitals that do work we cannot afford to pay for, or if we can't find a dentist. Could you contact any hospitals where you are and see if they would be willing to accept you as a patient to sort you out. You may not get implants but a set of dentures that mean you will be able to eat normally and without pain and infection is worth trying for.

There may be someone on here that knows more about assistance outside of the UK that will be along to help you.

All the best to you I hope you get some treatment soon as antibiotics will only calm the infection down for a short time, they aren't a cure. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::butterfly:
 
I

irmemac

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Joined
May 10, 2013
Messages
235
Location
Scotland
Hello, and.... I'm so impressed! I didn't think your entry was too long, but it made very interesting reading. I really hope you do go ahead with a journal as I would look forward to reading it. What impressed me so much was how matter of fact you sound about all these difficult and stressful decisions. I would very much like to end up going down exactly the same road as yourself, but similarly am prevented in the short term by the cost. You sound really practical and as if you have researched your options thoroughly.

I hope you are able to find affordable treatment in the short term to deal with issues such as abscesses (yuk, been there many times and the pain is overwhelming).

All the very, very best of luck to you. Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

:clover::clover::clover:
 
C

CautiouCatie

Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
28
You sound such a strong and determined person and I'm sure that eventually everything will work out fine for you:). The cost of extensive restoration is wicked isn't it. I know that here in the UK many Prcatices dealing with Implants are offering interest free credit and I was wondering if that might be available in your country. The 'interest free' isn't usually for more than 12 mths - but might help.

I wish you luck for the future :):clover::clover::clover:
 
J

Jackalwi

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
Thanks for all the support guys (and gals?) -- I guess a lot of my calm approach to it is partly from the information I'd dug up on my own about the whole process (that whole human fear of the unknown, or something), and also partly because it isn't worth getting all worked up over if it needs to happen (and will ultimately make me a happier and less-in-pain person!). Don't get me wrong, in the back of my mind, I'm terrified, anxious, and even a little bit shameful and confused, I just don't let it get to me - I know it needs to happen to be in better shape physically and emotionally (especially after healing up).

The payment options here in my area of the US are not exactly great. Almost any payment plan//credit plan that will approve me wants a huge down payment (half or more than half of either of the options I'm actually considering). There is at least one no-interest plan available, but the payments for it would be about double what I pay for rent, utilities, and food (although the payments would be done and over within a year, as opposed to 4-5 years for the other plans).

As for the dentistry school option, I'd done some looking around online, and the couple that popped up in my immediate neighborhood had horrible reviews (between bedside manner of the doctors/students, to having to make an extreme amount of return visits to get the work corrected//done right). It's not something I want to do unless I have exhausted all other options - I don't want to have a dysfunctional mouth-piece just to save myself a few grand. Maybe I'm just being practical this way, or I have a higher than average threshold for pain, but I'd sooner suffer another abscess than deal with a denture that wouldn't fit right even AFTER a ton of relines.

Besides, I still have a couple other payment options I haven't fully explored & researched (and applied for!) yet. I am super serious about the exhausting other options part; I'd sooner rent out my empty basement and sell some of my big toys than deal with a dental school that I have no indication will do it right the first, second, or even third and fourth (or more) times.
 
B

BioMan

Member
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
40
Location
UK
I think you are very wise to follow your instincts - hope it all works out for you.
 
C

CautiouCatie

Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
28
Please keep us posted as to how things progress:)...and good luck.
 
J

Jackalwi

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
So, I got a very kind group of people to help fund the whole ordeal! (happy dance), so it won't be long now (July 9th, 2014) before I'll get the first round of extractions done.

As much as I am looking forward to not having pain//being able to actually smile again, I'm not exactly excited about 4-6 months of recovery to go with it.
 
carole

carole

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Happy dance indeed :jump::jump::jump: how good for you that you you managed to find this kind group of people to help you out.

WELL DONE and GOOD LUCK :clover::clover::clover: keep us posted please :butterfly::thumbsup!:
 
J

Jackalwi

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
New post, the story so far is above.

I am using that one as the "if you want to know how the saga of my mouth got started" please refer there.

The treatment plan is basically 2 sets of extractions - between them a 6 week healing period, and after the 2nd I get the dental implant rods drilled into my jaw, along with the temporary dentures to fit on them. Only my lower jaw is getting implants, my upper is going to have traditional dentures.

Today was the big day for the very first of the extractions!

I had been unusually unrestful the past few days, and trying to eat a lot of things I wouldn't be able to for a long time, just getting kind of anxious about the whole procedure. But the anxiety was really worse than the procedure.

About an hour before I arrived at the office, I took two antibiotics (and have instructions to finish them off one pill a day until gone). I had been instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, and followed that. When I arrived, they were pretty quick to whisk me back to the pre-IV prep room, which was basically "Here, have a seat, have a pain killer, let me take your blood pressure & measure your heart rate, oh by the way swish this mouth wash around a bit" before actually going to the room where the procedure would be done.

Once there, I was fitted with yet another blood pressure arm-wrap, my arm was poked with the IV needle, and that was pretty much that. I was given a brief about the procedure as a recap - that 4 upper back teeth, 4 lower back teeth, on each side (a total of 16 teeth) were coming out, plus one or both molars (that detail gets a little fuzzy >.> ) It wasn't very long before I started to feel the anesthetic starting to work, getting a little light headed/tired. Back 10 years or so ago I was pretty big into relatively minor drugs (smoked a lot of pot, did some shrooms, and a few other hallucinogens, but nothing really other than that) - but the anesthetic feeling was not like any of those; it wasn't really a "pleasure high" as much as an "I'm tired, I'm going to sleep now" effect. Before I knew it I was out, in La-La-Land.

A couple hours passed, and I distinctly remember waking up in a different room than the procedure was done in (but no memory of walking to it myself, or getting moved there). That was awkward. But other than remembering waking up in a different room, I don't remember anything about leaving the office, getting in the car as a passenger, and getting driven back home. I don't remember being talkative for the drive or anything, but the person driving said I was often repeating myself & mumbling a lot. I barely remember coming back into the house, heading straight to my bed, and laying down/taking a nap. The person basically baby sitting me had at least shoved some new gauze in my mouth before I did, and changed it once while I was napping.

When I finally woke up and didn't really feel groggy from the sedation, it was really really weird, but suddenly "missing" 16 teeth will do that to you.

I'm not really in pain, but they must have really gone wild with the novacaine, because my lower lip is still just a bit tingly from it, almost 12 hours after the scheduled time. I suppose it helps to have taken one prescribed hydrocodone when I woke up from my nap too, but I can still feel a sort of 'pressure' from the missing teeth. I'm not really even swollen (right now, or yet, depending on how you look at it), then again I was blessed with a pretty large jaw from my father's side of the family - regardless my jaw still feels a bit sore, no doubt from the tools used to prop it open wide enough for them to get the back teeth out. All in all, it's just this really weird mix of suddenly not having all of my teeth, and an awkward kind of pressure-sort of feeling where the teeth were at/in my jaw. I'm being really careful with how I swallow not to take the clot with it, resulting in a dry socket - in a sense I'm afraid to eat or drink anything because of it - I'm very tempted to just turn into a drooling neanderthal over the next few days.

Although nothing really hurts - it's more "soreness" than anything, there is this really weird sensation of an itch where some of the teeth were. That's the best way I can describe it anyway; an itch in your mouth but you can't (or really really shouldn't) scratch it.

The only thing now is to decide if I want to eat something or let it heal a bit more fully before tackling the whole "how to chew without teeth" thing. Along with making a bigger shopping list to pick up over the next couple of days and finding things to pass the time to get my mind off of how awkward my mouth feels.

I can currently talk, albeit that too feels really weird. It's hard to say exactly what it feels like, you really don't know how much you use your teeth (even the back ones!) to pronounce things until you don't have them anymore!

I'll keep yall posted/answer questions/comments over the next few days and as I remember to check this thread. The next big round of extractions when I'll also get my temporary implants/dentures isn't for another 6 weeks about.
 
Z

zombiegroupie

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Mar 27, 2014
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392
J

Jackalwi

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Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
So it's been a couple of days. I know I said I wasn't really even swollen, but that came to bite me in the rear, cuz my right side pretty much blew up like a balloon. It's starting to settle down a bit though.

I still haven't had much else to eat other than protein shakes & soups, which I'm getting quickly tired of (though I do have a giant box of instant mashed potatoes, a dozen or so cups of jello, among other things I probably could eat right now, I'm still a little apprehensive about taking a clot with it//getting food stuck in there while it's so tender).

Today has been a bit of a milestone regardless, because for the first time I haven't felt like I absolutely needed to take the hydrocodone to get through the day (they also prescribed me some horse-pills of 600mg ibuprofen, which I've barely touched mostly because of how big they are to swallow).

And, even with the rest of extractions a few weeks away, I have a checkup on this coming Thursday.
 
Colin65

Colin65

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Jan 31, 2012
Messages
144
Well done glad you're doing ok, it won't be long before you can eat properly.

I have a quick question re implants, you say you have to wait 6 weeks for the gums to heal, I've been told to wait 4-6 months so the implants have a good anchor point in the jaw when they've healed, so I wonder why there's a big difference? Of course there's also teeth in a day but I'm not sure that's a good idea?
 
J

Jackalwi

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Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
how it was explained to me is that, between the first & second extraction days, the 6 weeks is pretty much to give the gums time to heal, which allows for a better fit of the final appliance - I'll still have a denture, it's just going to be attached to the implants, and like any denture, you want it to have the best fit possible (especially if it's going to be pretty well attached and not easily removable without visiting the office!)

Also, I don't have the implants in quite yet - when I do get them, I'll have to go through about 4 months of healing time with them for the reasons you probably expect. The 4-6 months varies depending on the treatment plan, some other options to me would put me up for 6 months, but this one is only 4 months. Why the difference, I don't know, but from what I recall, the 4-6 months healing period is pretty much entirely waiting on the bone to heal around & "fuse" with the implant.
 
Last edited:
Colin65

Colin65

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Jan 31, 2012
Messages
144
Thanks, but the 4-6 months I've been told to wait is after extractions (April/May this year) and before implants are placed, then again wait approx 4-6 months with temp bridges before having the permanent ones made and fitted.
 
J

Jackalwi

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Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
That is weird, now you've got me wondering about the difference in 'healing time'.
 
Colin65

Colin65

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Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
144
Mmmmm that's why I asked the question. Don't panic though as I said people can have teeth in a day straight after extractions so it must be ok? I guess for the best possible outcome the waiting times I've been given are the usual? I suppose bone takes a long time to heal that's why?

Perhaps we can both check on various implant sites to see what is the most common. I'm prepared to wait that long as I don't want to run the chance of a failure in the long term, it's a lot of money after all.
 
J

Jackalwi

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Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
31
I imagine it's going to be one of those things that varies from person to person (like general health, age, and other big factors like if you're diabetic, anemic, a smoker, etc.), and also treatment plan to treatment plan.
 
R

Rusty213

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Joined
Mar 21, 2014
Messages
37
I had all of my top teeth pulled out on April 16th. They were able to put the posts in that day (the first part of the implants). On July 7th, I had the 2nd part of the implants put in... I go for the impressions on July 21st and 4 weeks after that, I will have my new teeth... They originally told me it would take a total of 6-9 months... I freaked.. I healed nicely and had NO complications except for swelling and the temporary dentures didn't fit... I think it depends on the person with how long things can take...
 

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