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Sakit, but so worth it: getting dental implants

 | December 16, 2015

Though getting them is a painful, protracted and pricey process, dental implants can add more bite to your life.

Dental-Implants

My scantily-clad gums are haunted by the ghosts of two molars (one was slowly crushed to bits by the obsessive love of a neighbouring tooth with ‘relationship boundary issues’; the other jumped to its death to escape the clingy attentions of its plaque BFF); and two unemployed, layabout wisdom teeth forcibly evicted from their squatter dwellings. Tumbleweeds skitter across the resulting canyon-wide gaps between my teeth, and the problem I now face is not only an aesthetic one (the ravines are noticeable when I flash my trademark lunatic asylum inmate smile), but a functional one as well (by the time I finish slow-mo chewing my breakfast, it’s time for dinner).

I had resigned myself to a life of smiling only while wearing a niqab, and eating all my meals a week in advance, when I learned about new innovations in dental implant technology, and surgical procedures available in Malaysia. Though tooth-grindingly pricey, and requiring a somewhat painful and protracted process, dental implants (identity thieves which impersonate real teeth flawlessly) have enough bite to change your life.

What’s a dental implant?

It’s a prosthetic tooth inserted into the space of a missing incisor, canine, bicuspid or molar. It comprises the crown (made of porcelain) and the ‘root’ (formed out of titanium, a strong metal accepted by the human body, causes no known allergies and doesn’t corrode). An implant allows you to eat like normal, lasts for a lifetime, and is permanently attached, so you never have to worry about removing or losing it. And its falseness is never revealed, no matter how often or widely you smile.

What does getting one involve?

The process of getting a dental implant depends on several factors: first, your dentist will have to establish that you have enough bone in the affected area to support the new tooth. If you don’t, he will have to perform a bone augmentation or graft in order to add more bone to the jaw (ouch, but necessary). Next, x-rays are performed to determine the exact nature of your jaw structure, in order that casts can be made to create your new tooth.

When all is in place, your dentist will initiate the three-stage implantation procedure, beginning with drilling into your jaw bone (this is the really painful part) to insert the titanium screw. The final stage is screwing the porcelain crown onto the exposed part of the titanium root. The typical time frame for getting a dental implant is between five and six months, as it involves undergoing healing periods which are needed to ensure the successful, gradual integration of the root.

How much will it hurt (my finances)?

This can vary considerably, depending on your dental needs – but average costs range from RM5,000 to RM10,000 per implant (this is the OTHER really painful part). If you’re getting multiple tooth implants, the oral surgeon can often combine procedures such as x-rays to save you money. In some cases, your insurance may cover the cost of your implants if they are deemed medically necessary. (May the force be with you).

For a list of dental implant clinics in Malaysia, visit WhatClinic.

*Based on an article published by irrepressible fitness empress, domestic diva and kinetic mommy-of-three, Shireen Yong, in www.healthfreakmommy.com.


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