Monday, December 21, 2015

my bite is worse than -- almost anything

It may be Christmas week, but it's starting to look a lot like Halloween around here.  Or Day of the Dead to be more local.

In February of 2014, I surrendered and gave up on trying to save my last upper left molar.  It had harbored infection for over a year, and eleven months of root canal work could do nothing to salvage it.  The root was irreparably cracked.  So, out it came (the tooth -- the whole tooth -- and nothing but the tooth).

There has been a gap there ever since.  Not in my smile.  I would need a Martha Raye display of teeth for anyone to ever see it.

But there is a gap nonetheless.  A chewing one.  The two molars on my lower jaw sit there unpartnered like two lonely bachelors.  They are ready to mesh and masticate.  However, they lack a mortar to go with their pestle.

Not for long.  This morning, I am driving to Manzanillo to start the process of restoring my gnash and grind.  The same young dentist who extracted my old molar is going to give me two new implants.

Well, not "give."  He will install them.  At a cost.  More on that later.

Unfortunately, there will be another procedure before the implants go in.  I do not have adequate bone between my tooth line and my maxillary sinus -- that big hole in my head that friends, teachers, and absolute strangers have remarked on for decades.

There is just not enough bone in jaw to take the implant.  But, medical technology being what it is, there is a solution. 

The young dentist will graft two pieces of bone (one from a human cadaver, the other from a cow -- I will let you do the punchlines on that one) into my jaw to create what nature has not provided.  It may not be as sexy as new breasts or calves, but it will be far more utilitarian.

When he grafts the cadaver bone, he will also install the implant for the recently-deceased tooth.  The cow bone will take longer to set.  After six months, he will install the second implant in that bone.  And once all of that is in place, he will install crowns on the implants.

I have never priced implants in The States.  I really had no need until now.  So, I cannot tell you if what I am about to pay is more or less than up north.  Nor did I shop around to see if the implants could be accomplished here for less than what I am paying.

Tomorrow, I will reach deep in my wallet and pay $22,000 (Mx) -- or $1,285 (US) -- for both bone grafts and one implant.  When the second implant is installed, that will be an additional $10,000 pesos -- $584 (US)

That does not include the cost of the two crowns.  I have no idea what they will cost.  Because I did not ask.

However, it all seems to be reasonable enough to me.  I look forward to being able to chew a nice piece of extra rare prime rib on the left side of my mouth.  The right is getting tired of carrying the load.

For those of you who are concerned, little Barco is staying with my neighbors who love golden retrievers.  I hope he is on his best behavior.  There is a bit of the Bark Simpson in him.

The dentist was kind enough to tell me that I will be in the dental chair for about three hours, the left side of my face may turn purple, I will need to keep ice on my jaw, and he wants to wait in his office for an hour after the surgery before e will release me to drive away.

For some reason, that did not sound entirely reassuring.  I just need to keep focused on that prime rib.


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