At last the day had arrived. It was 5 months to the date since the upper jaw had been implanted and 3 months since the lower jaw had been done. Ample time had been provided for the ossification of the titanium implants which were 6 in the upper jaw and 6 in the lower jaw. The latest OPG( Orthopantomagraph) had revealed that the implants had fused well with the jaw bones and I was now ready for the next session of torture, I mean (with due apologies to my implantologist) the second phase of the project ‘dental implant’ namely capping the implants.
For this, the doctor had to expose the implants by removing the soft tissue covering them and then screw on the stainless steel caps on them. Stainless steel is used for this purpose as it is a very strong metal ideally suited for load bearing and also because it is bio compatible with titanium. As the process involved lot of incisions, the local anesthesia had to be used. The lower jaw has a single nerve running through it and hence two injections one at each end were enough to obtain the required numbing. But the upper jaw had all the implant sites connected to different nerves and hence as many injections had to be given in series as there were implants. So, before the numbness set in, I could feel the impact of all the 8 jabs- the most painful part of the whole operation. This sent my heart beating superfast. But the doctor assured me that it would come down. A bit of relaxation learnt at ‘Art of living’ helped to restore my heart beat to the normal pace.
Since the tissues covering the implants in the upper jaw were thin, they could be punched out and the implants exposed. But the soft tissues covering the lower implants were quite thick and so the gum had to be cut open in the front to expose the implants and sutured later with simple sutures.
Once the implants were exposed, the stainless steel caps called healing caps were screwed on the threaded implants flush with the gums. The tightening of the screws was done manually, but one implant slightly deep in the mouth and not easily accessible had to be tightened with a cute spanner! The function of the caps is to see that no soft tissues grow on the implants while the rest of the jaws is healing.
Surprisingly, the blood loss was quite a bit during the process as compared to the first phase and so the blood had to be constantly suctioned out.
Once the steel caps were in place and the sutures put, the doctor prescribed the usual antibiotics and pain killers and asked me to come a week later when the prosthodontist would take over.
More of that later…..
Continuous use of cold packs brought the swelling down and I had my normal face by evening.