Time for Implants

I realize there’s a fair chance a number of you read that and thought of a certain kind of implants, and wondered what in the world I was writing about today. Those aren’t the kind of implants we’ll be discussing today. Rather, I went to the dentist on Friday for my checkup, and I mentioned that a tooth had been giving me some problems on the lower left hand side of my mouth.

Not huge problems, mind you. A year ago it was sensitive to cold twice in the space of two days. And then that flared up a bit here and there over the course of the year. During the Super Bowl, it hurt when I was eating Doritos, of all things. But that’s about it.

So they decided to take a look. This is generally not followed by happy news when you’re at the dentist, in my experience . . .

First of all, they noticed that I had a huge hole in my wisdom tooth on that side of my mouth. (I’ve got a big mouth. I still have all my wisdom teeth, and they all pretty much fit fine.) Not a cavity. A hole. There’s no decay around it. It just looks like a chunk of tooth decided that it didn’t want to be there anymore, and so it went away. But it needs to be filled, just like a cavity.

Second, there’s some gum soreness in that area, which indicates I’m probably grinding my teeth on that side even more than normal. (I’m a grinder. I wear a nightguard every night, and I actually chewed through the first one I got.) Apparently the pandemic has been causing a real spike in grinding across the board, so that’s not too surprising.

Third, they took an X-ray of the tooth. The one I was complaining about seems fine, but the one next to it is still a baby tooth. (I never had a real tooth in that spot to replace it.) And it appears that its root has finally cracked. They’re going to double check it, but if that’s the case, then I have to start looking at, you guessed it, a tooth implant.

I’ve now made the mistake of googling what, exactly, the process is of getting a tooth implant. For a person with a mild phobia of dentists, this does not look like a Fun Experience. It’s enough to make me start wondering if I couldn’t just give that baby tooth a pep talk to get it to work with the team for a while longer. (Especially since I’ve got a baby tooth on the other side that might start getting ideas as well.)

So I wondered if any of you fine folks out there have gotten dental implants. If so, care to share your experience? Should I just settle down and accept the fact that I’m getting older, and more and more parts of my body are going to begin to fail on me? Are there any other alternatives I should look into? (To implants, not to getting older.) Any info from real people I know would be greatly appreciated.


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