Clear Choice Dental Implants: Product Review

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A Review Two Years in the Making

April 23, 2012. My wife, Pam, had been watching Clear Choice dental implant commercials for more than a year. Doing a product review was not on our minds today–but finding out a few things? Definitely. Specifically, we needed to know:

    1. Eligibility. Were her mandibles in good enough shape to accept the titanium screw anchors? Pam had her teeth out, all of them, in 1997. She has osteoporosis. Dentures were no longer working for her–not that they ever worked all that well–but were dental implants even possible?

    2. Cost. She’d been in touch with Clear Choice in Tucson, Arizona, off and on over the months. More than once, she attempted to find out some kind of dollar range for this type of procedure. No go. Which meant (it always does in such cases) that despite the ads claiming they kept the costs down, that part was a flat-out lie. They would be expensive.

    Just how expensive, we’d find out before the day was over.

    3. Specific procedure. What my redhead pictured, I’m not sure. What I pictured, you don’t want to know. Both of us were scared about half spitless whenever we thought about cutting into her tissues again and drilling pilot holes for the anchors.

During the past week, front desk people for Clear Choice kept calling and texting, encouraging the dickens out of their prospective customer. We actually appreciated that a lot. The fear factor was powerful. Having a skilled “reassurance counselor” reeling us in bit by bit was a good thing.

They also sent Pam an initial form to fill out (not the detailed medical history which would come later) and a map to their office. The latter was excellent, no problem getting there. Nervous to the max but determined, my honey made sure we got there 25 minutes ahead of time.

Why so determined?

For the first few years after she had her teeth extracted, she was mostly concerned with aesthetics, i.e., how she looked. But recently, physical health reasons rose to dominate. It became not merely an emotional desire but a need for survival.

Her tissues are both thin and ultra-sensitive. It had gotten to the point that eating anything with more solidity to it than a soy milk shake was painful. When it hurts to eat and your’e anorexic to start with, keeping a reasonable amount of weight on your frame goes from challenging to almost impossible.

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The initial consultation included wraparound x-rays and a CT scan. We got to see both, including an onscreen mockup of her facial bones that scared the living Hell out of me. The lower mandible looked solid enough to take a few titanium screw hits; I could see that. But the upper? Looked almighty porous to my layman’s eye.

Plus, the tech confirmed that yes, that black spot was a hole.

However, the dental surgeon, Dr. Keys, was upbeat. How upbeat? Think Amway salesman. One who actually makes money in multilevel marketing. I mean, this guy has all the right diplomas, he indicated there was no problem with her upper mandible, plenty of good bone for the anchors left (though he’d seen some that were, yes, impossibly deteriorated).

Okay. They’ve done a lot of these. Yeah, they make a lot of money at this, no question about it. But that’s a good thing in a way. If customers (I detest the word “patient” and refuse to use it) were getting burned with that much cash on the line (they don’t accept insurance), lawsuits would be accruing. They would be out of business.

Besides, we’re informed that once the implants are in place, four titanium screws in the lower jaw, four in the upper, calcium will begin collecting around those screws, bond the bone to the titanium. So if there’s enough “for starters”, things actually get stronger over time.

Awesome detail: These implants have little hidden set screws. Which allow the “prosthodontist” (cool term, huh?) to change out the choppers at any time without touching the screws or the bones or cutting anything ever again.

Good news right there.

The money: Pam was hugely relieved that she could in fact get the implants. Had her scared half to death she wouldn’t be a candidate, what with her ongoing osteoporosis and all. Now, for the sticker shock. Get ready. Here it comes:

    A. If we told ’em to take their money machine and shove it, just paid for the CT scan (which is “free” if you go on with the program): $195.

    B. If she had not been a candidate for the upper implants or if we simply didn’t have enough money on tap for the whole shebang, it was possible to get just the lower implants along with a matching denture for the upper. Which would suck, but get this: Even going that route, sticker shock: $22,600.

    C. Eyeballs crossed yet? Pam’s were. Metaphorically speaking, anyway. The whole thing, now, upper and lower implants: $42,000.

No, that’s not a misprint. And yes, we’re going to do it. Massive improvement in our income situation since last summer and early fall have made it possible. Risky as the dickens–we’ll have to “borrow” from our Tax Reserves account and hope it can be refilled by year end–but (*shudder*) doable.

So much for paying off the land, or getting kitchen cabinets, or…but if Pam can’t eat, there’s not much need for land or a kitchen. Funeral arrangements, maybe, which we’d just as soon avoid for a few more decades if at all possible.

A couple’s gotta do what a couple’s gotta do.

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Do we consider this a ripoff? Oh, you betcha. By half, at least.

On the other hand, we have faith that these overpaid hotshots really are good at what they do, really care about getting good results for their patients, and are pretty much the only (best) game in town for what we need done.

And, as mentioned, Dr. Keys does have a sense of humor. One of the “key selling phrases” Jim (the tech and money man) uses is, “It’s life changing.” He repeated it so often, it reminded me of every used car salesman I’ve ever known–plus a couple of hardcore timeshare condo sales rats. Just as Dr. Keys was leaving the office after our consultation, sticking out his hand for me to shake, Jim said that again: “It’s life changing.”

Looking Dr. Keys in the eye while pumping his hand, I pointed out, “So are serial killers.”

Keys absolutely cracked up…and I figured, “Must be the right guy. He actually got it.”

Pam’s next appointment is three days away, on Thursday, to get started with measuring her “dainty” mouth and all that jazz.

This evening, she and I decided to publish this product review–after her surgery is done.

But we’ll keep journaling the process in the meantime, and add various updates as well.

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Internet Research Interlude: April 25, 2012

We go in for Pam’s second appointment tomorrow. I’ve not yet researched Clear Choice dental implants on the Internet. Which you might think I’d have been wise to do prior to the first appointment, but hey. Now, at least, we have a set of unfettered first opinions as a base from which to judge what others have to say, rather than the other way around.

Notes from the day’s research:

1. By far the greatest number of negative evaluations when it comes to Clear Choice…originated from other dentists. Guess what? Those don’t count. Recuse yourself, judge. Call us skeptical, but we never trust comments made about a business by its direct competitors.

2. It took some digging, but I eventually found a number of evaluations by Clear Choice clients who’d actually undergone the implant process. The “worst” came from a lady who’d at first told them (Clear Choice) that she and her husband couldn’t afford the $40,000 cost she was originally quoted.

Let’s explore that one for a bit. The next day, the CC money man called, said his Supervisor had okayed a drop in price to $30,000. At that point, she and her guy decided to go ahead, get the work done…and everything went wrong.

Our thoughts: A. Thankfully, this was in another state, as was every problem experience reported. Pam and I have zero doubt that with a national chain, yes, you’re going to have problems here and there; it’s inevitable. B. Always pay full retail. That’s a maxim passed on by a remarkable marketer in a book I read back druing my hardcore sales days (think multilevel marketing).

3. Roughly half of the reviews (by actual implant recipients) were highly enthusiastic. Some detailed the process, including the fluffy blanket provided along with the comfy recliner in the recovery room after surgery.

4. Clear Choice has a little-advertised program called Star Spangled Smiles. In each city where they have an implant center, one military veteran in need of dental implants is selected to receive the full treatment for free.

Pam and I are both pro-military to the max. Here, we agreed, was one more sign we were dealing with the right people. Overall? Satisfied with what the research had to tell us.

Oh, yeah. Two more tidbits:

5. Clear Choice is BBB (Better Business Bureau) accredited, with zero “closed claims” for the past 3 years. Perhaps there could be an “open claim” still out there somewhere that hasn’t “closed” yet…but the BBB statement looked good to us.

6. It turns out $42,000 for a full set of dental implants is not a ripoff after all. Not if you judge by the rest of what’s out there, and as true believers in a free market economy, that’s definitely what we do.

It’s possible to get the work done for up to 60% less–if you want to have the work done in Costa Rica. Otherwise, the pricing is right there in the middle of the pack.

Okay. We’ll go with that. Feeling much less ripped off.

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Second Appointment: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pam was even more nervous approaching this go-round than she was on Monday. For one thing, she’s still in sticker shock. Plus, thanks to a few mental health issues plus bad experiences back in the day with other dental providers, my redhead’s trust is not always easily earned.

The staff was just as pleasant, courteous, and welcoming as on Day One. With the sale closed, the money man had no need to go into sales mode, so he didn’t. A few questions had to be answered to my wife’s satisfaction before I cut the check:

+ How were they on follow-up needs, say, a bridge problem three years down the road?

+ Could they understand when we told them that where the average person might need a single course of antibiotics, Pam usually needs three, and of higher than average dosage?

+ Could they get the surgery scheduled fairly soon, before Pammie’s fear level built up to the point of chickening out entirely?

The answers were fully satisfactory. Pam went off to have impressions made while I cut the check for $41,000 (plus the $1,000 paid on Monday via debit card). Then I joined her (and the highly skilled impression-taker lady) while they went through the medical history forms I’d filled out for my sweetheart. Line by line, every entry was briefly discussed.

Note: They have a cooler out front, well stocked with bottled water, V-8 juice, etc. There’s also coffee.

When all was squared away, Pam slipped out to stretch her legs and have a smoke–cigarettes being the lone vice she’s never been able to kick entirely, though her intake is down drastically from a few years ago.

There will be two more trips to Tucson before the surgery run. Also, Mary will reserve us a room at the Quality Inn, less than a mile down Oracle Road from the Clear Choice dental implant center, for the night before surgery. They take the cost out of that $42,000 we done went and paid in full up front.

The next appointments as currently set:

    1. Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Final measurements taken for making the bridges. These folks have the complete tooth-making lab right in-house. Very cool.

    2. Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Try-in teeth. That day, Pam will get to see how they look and also get a sense of how they’re going to fit. It won’t be “perfect” in that the upper will actually be a denture (so it can be “persuaded” to stay in place long enough for Pam to admire it in the mirror).

    3. Monday, June 18, 2012. Surgery day. We’ll stay Sunday night at the Quality Inn, reporting to Clear Choice by 7:00 a.m. She’ll be “in surgery” for 3 1/2, maybe 4 hours, something like that. She’ll leave with a full set of teeth that will be replaced with a “permanent” version some months later, after her tissues have fully healed.

    4. Thursday, June 28, 2012. First follow-up: Check healing, check bite, discuss homecare.

How was Pam feeling by the time we left? Relieved. Glad she had a few weeks before the next appointment, to gather herself and start psyching herself anew. And tired. Very, very tired.

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May 16, 2012

We arrived at the Clear Choice dental implant center more than an hour early for Pam’s appointment, but there was no waiting. At the front desk, Pam was told she’d need to get a blood test…and that the results could mean a delay in her surgery (currently scheduled for June 18).

This freaked my lady out. She’s psyched herself for that date; any delay is too horrifying to contemplate.

But, once explained, the test did make sense. She takes Boniva, one of the bisphosphonate medications designed to slow (and in some cases actually reverse) osteoporotic bone loss. Turns out that the human body can sometimes hang onto bisphosphonates for a really, really long time–and that elevated levels in the bloodstream make dental implant surgery a bit of risky business.

There are other medications that can help lower that level, but it takes time.

Dr. Luis Keys “measured her face” today in order to help craft the dental prostheses (full upper and lower bridges) as precisely as possible. Opportunity: I snapped a whole bunch of before pictures. You won’t see this anywhere else–one, maybe two, rarely three photos–but never a batch like this. Note: The dark dots on the tip of Pam’s nose and the tip of her chin were placed there by Dr. Keys to aid in his measurements.

Pam also picked out a tooth color, left her upper denture with the implant center (temporarily) for reference purposes, and bit down repeatedly on wax “inserts” to aid the prosthesis-making procedure.

Finally, the doctor wrote out the necessary prescriptions Pam will need both prior to and after surgery: Pain meds (duh!), antibiotics (Pam must be premedicated whenever she faces surgery–it’s a lifetime thing with her), a special mouthwash, and one final Rx to help reduce swelling more rapidly than would otherwise be the case.

Only when reviewing the prescription forms did we notice that Dr. Keys not only sports a DDS designation after his name…but an MD as well. We’re liking that!

From there, it was off to the lab to get the blood work done. That went well. My wife is not an easy blood draw, but the lady who stuck her vein did it perfectly, one hit and outa there.

Pam’s BEFORE Photos, Taken May 16, 2012

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My redhead had her teeth out in 1997. For the past 15 years, she’s mostly done without–we finally beat a South Dakota dentist about the head and shoulders enough to get her an upper denture that more or less fit her tiny mouth, but the lower was always too big. Today gave me a chance to record her as I’ve known her this past decade and a half.

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When Dr. Keys had the wax forms in Pam’s mouth, I told her sincerely, “You’re going to look 20 years younger.” I wasn’t exaggerating; there wasn’t a wrinkle line one left in her face at that point. Could have showed that effect here but wanted to save it for later, after the surgery…for dramatic effect.

In the meantime, we’re not done posting before pics. (You can of course scroll on down if you’re getting bored here.)

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June 6, 2012: Try-In

During today’s appointment, called a “try-in”, Pam got the prosthetic teeth in her mouth…sort of. The teeth were real enough, but they were set in relatively soft wax forms. This meant they had to be a lot thicker than the final chomper “gums” would be, so it naturally felt to Pam like she had a set of Bucky Beaver dentures jammed in there.

Adding to that impression was the denture-style upper palate plate. This, also, would not be part of the real deal on surgery day.

Why do the try-in at all, then?

Simple enough: Everybody got to see what the teeth looked like (forget the fake gums for the moment), and it allowed the doctor to check the bite.

Except for noticeable discomfort on Pam’s part when it came to stretching her tiny mouth enough to get the wax monuments in there, it was a relaxing and relatively enjoyable time. Our trust in pretty much the entire staff is high.

 The wax-and-teeth prototypes.


The wax-and-teeth prototypes.

"The elephant goes in through the doggy door."

“The elephant goes in through the doggy door.”


Say what?!

Say what?!


Full set.

Full set.


Ah, improved appearance already!

Ah, improved appearance already!

June 17, 2012: Crunch Time

On Sunday, the day before Pam had to be at the Clear Choice Dental Implant Center at 7:00 a.m. sharp for her surgery, we once again headed to Tucson. Because of our 3-hour drive to reach their location from home, Clear Choice had booked us a room at the Quality Inn (7411 Oracle Road).

We had it for two nights so Pam could rest a night after surgery before bouncing back south to Cochise County. Two queen size beds, and a smoking room at that. (I haven’t smoked in more than 40 years, but Pam still hasn’t quite managed to quit.)

Glitch #1: It was not a smoking room after all.

Turned out Quality Inn had switched that particular facility over to “No Mercy For Smokers” just two weeks earlier. Smoking rooms were available when Clear Choice booked the room…so we’ll never know. Did the motel folks fail to notify Clear Choice of the change or was the Clear Choice staff too cowardly to give us a Heads Up? No proof either way, but since we’ve come to have faith in the folks at Clear Choice and we did find a liar or two among the motel staff, we choose to blame Quality Inn.

Either way, Pam swiftly decided to make the best of it, and we managed to muddle through on that score until four-something a.m. on June 18, The Big Day, when….

Glitch #2: Pam spied a sizeable cockroach ambling in toward the sitting room from the bedroom, just moseying across the carpet like he owned it. Which he did, apparently–until I grabbed a tissue from the bathroom and finger-smunched him.

Now we had a humongous potential problem. If even one of the bugs hitched a ride home with us later, stowing away in our luggage, Quality Inn will eventually get the credit for the problem at the Border Fort and the bill for whatever it takes to eradicate the nasty things.

There is of course no such thing as “just one cockroach”. By the time we left the motel forever at around 7:30 a.m. on June 19, we’d seen four of them. The first three died; the last one got away.

Wrote a bit about this, using the following photo to illustrate the point.

The American cockroach, foot-stomped at the not so Quality Inn.

The American cockroach, foot-stomped at the not so Quality Inn.

June 18, 2012: Surgery

Glitch #3: Between us and the Clear Choice folks, we had one definite and temporarily traumatic-as-Hell failure to communicate. We knew Pam would be getting all of the surgery done and her new (temporary) teeth in her mouth before we left…but the details of how that worked were not explained the way they should have been.

Dr. Keys believes with all his heart that all of this was explained properly…and quite likely it was indeed at some point. But when we were told during the try-in appointment that, “It might only take three to four hours for Pam,” we assumed erroneously that they were talking about the entire freaking convoluted complicated terrifying process.

Not so.

In hindsight, it’s obvious they meant the surgery only…but that’s not the end of it. After the cutting and drilling and post-implanting and stitch-sewing is done, the prosthodontist sits beside the dental chair and does a lot of work to make sure the teeth the customer wears out of the building fit as perfectly as possible.

Then, while the groggy doggy is coming out from under the anesthesia in the Recovery Room, they go to work in their awesome inhouse lab, precisely crafting the upper and lower prostheses. This takes a couple of hours.

Pam and I did not understand all this. We honestly thought they meant she might well be in and out of there in four hours flat.

Imagine the terror in your wife, coming back into the waking world to discover you’re not only bloody and numb but still toothless. I could see the abject terror in Pam’s eyes, hear it in her garbled voice as the panic hit her.

“Where are her teeth?!” I snapped at the poor girl who’d kindly escorted me back to see my sweetheart in the Recovery Room. “We’re not leaving here without her teeth!”

Found out later I’d frightened the young lady badly; she burst into tears the moment she was out of my sight. (One of the other staff members told me later.)

Before the day was done, I’d terrorized a whole bunch of those honest, goodhearted people on different Pam-related subtopics. They’d never seen a man as hyper-protective of a woman as I’d turned out to be. As far as Clear Choice in Tucson is concerned, Ghost is a loose cannon with a lit fuse.

Truth be told, they don’t know the half of it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch–uh, Recovery Room–it took me a couple of minutes to reassure Pam, to get through her anesthesia-induced fog enough to let her understand. She would have her teeth in her mouth when we left, but for now we’d need to stay put, let her keep waking up while the lab fine-tuned her choppers.

She was freezing, cold-cold-cold, which the good Dr. Keys told us was a side effect of the anesthesia, especially with teeny tiny no-body-fat people. There was a space heater going in the room, blankets galore, but she was still cold.

Glitch #4: Turned out the oral surgeon scheduled to do the cutting…could not even fit his fingers inside Pam’s teeny tiny mouth and had to recuse himself from doing the job at all! Fortunately and more than fortunately, the lead dude (Keys) had smaller hands and nimble-fingered the job to perfection, except….

Glitch #5: They didn’t believe Pam needed the massive amount of anesthesia she needed. We’d warned them, but still. She wasn’t quite far enough into the Twilight Zone, flinched, and the doc scratched the outside of her mouth a little bit with the scalpel.

Kudos: He ‘fessed up immediately, told Pam what he’d done. Few I’ve met in the medical profession would do that. Helluva man.

Note: Pam could hear, see (sometimes out of body, hovering, watching) everything that was going on, and respond to commands. The doctor was blown away at how well she did, acknowledged that she’d performed “beyond his expectations”, better than 95% of those who undergo similar procedures. She was even steady on her feet while still under anesthesia, being helped to the bathroom and back after informing them she needed to pee.

Once a world class athlete, always a world class athlete.

One hour after surgery.

One hour after surgery.


 Thumbs up!


Thumbs up!


The monitor.

The monitor.

June 18, 2:00 p.m.: Teeth

At around 2:00 p.m., Pam was escorted across the hall to get her teeth bolted into her mouth. I waited in the Recovery Room until they told me to come on over, then got to see my honey with her new set…except they were tucked behind her swollen tissues far enough to remain invisible for the moment.

The way they hid the lug nuts (implant set screws) that hold the teeth in place is fascinating. First, a bit of Teflon tape is tucked into each hole atop the set screw. Then a dab of resin is applied, then heat to melt the resin into place.

My guess is that the Teflon tape keeps the resin from gumming up the set screw heads, though I didn’t ask.

The doctor also gave Pam a little retainer of very soft plastic. The retainer sits atop the lower prosthesis and keeps the newly toothed customer from biting his or her tongue while sleeping.

It works, too. Pam tried to go without it once…and bit her tongue before she’d even dropped fully off to sleep.

Teeth in place, though hidden.

Teeth in place, though hidden.


Warming the resin.

Warming the resin.

The Lizard

By the time we got back to the roach-infested Quality Inn at around 3:30 p.m., Pam was far enough out of the anesthesia to be hurting bad. Her pain pills were seriously inadequate–as she’d known they would be–and she was still having difficulty getting me to understand what she said.

Atop the retaining wall behind the motel, however, there was a Welcome Back lizard, just letting us know he was paying attention.

I don’t know the species, but he seemed like a good omen.

UPDATE: April 25, 2013: I know the species now, thanks to A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona, page 75. This is a desert spiny lizard, Sceloporus magister. It eats (get this):

“…ants, beetles, caterpillars, other insects, spiders, centipedes, small lizards, and plants.”

The desert spiny lizard behind the motel.

The desert spiny lizard behind the motel.

June 19, 2012: Stitches

We slept little that night. By 7:35 a.m. the following morning (June 19), we were back at Clear Choice. We weren’t scheduled, but Pam’s dental implant job had two super-major issues:

Glitch #6: Some of the stitches in her mouth had been left with tag-end tails sticking out far enough to actually gag her. The longest stitch-tail I could see with a flashlight had to be a good half inch at least.

The tech who took Pam back to help her out–which was done immediately–said yeah, that was sloppy. Not dangerous or incompetent or anything, but definitely sloppy. She sheared the tails off flush with the tissues and that was that.

Glitch #7: She also told my lady, “You’ve got swelling inside (including up inside the nose) where I’ve never seen swelling before.” Beyond that, one look in Pam’s eyes made it obvious she was in turbo-pain. Without hesitation, she was given a prescription for an entirely different (and much more effective) pain medication.

Which we filled ten minutes later at Walgreen’s.

Back in Sierra Vista, we stopped at Denny’s. Not that Pam could eat anything solid yet, but Zach (her son) joined us. She wanted to meet up with him, get some hugs and support, show him her new face.

The kickier pain meds had barely taken the edge off; you can see it in the next photo. Yet even under the pain gun like that, face swollen like a balloon at the County Fair, my redhead cheerfully donned her sunglasses and posed for the camera.

Wotta gal.

Post-Surgery Day One

The face of pain.

The face of pain.

 Faking it beautifully.


Faking it beautifully.

June 20, 2012: Home

Back at the Border Fort with no witnesses other than her husband and the cats, Pam had little need to fake it today. We’ve got the pain med cycle more or less figured out, the swelling seems to be going down a bit, and there’s no doubt in my mind that her decision to get dental implants will in time turn out to be a very good decision indeed.

But we’re not at that point yet. Today was still plenty tough. She tells me and anyone who will listen that the pain is worse than anything she’s ever undergone in the past–and that includes having all of her teeth yanked at once (15 years ago), being shot in both feet and ankles, shattering a shoulder after bucking off a bronc and landing on a boulder, gall bladder removal, rinoplasty, you name it.

Plus, she now has thrush in her mouth to add injury to injury.

No, we don’t have to call an M.D. about this in the morning. We already had a bottle of Nystatin waiting in the fridge. It takes almost nothing for her to get oral thrush; with people slicing and drilling in there for hours on end, how could she not?

For the moment (but only for the moment) this post will finish with the next photo–a shot of Pam’s obvious misery some 48 hours after surgery. That misery reached its crest at roughly 1:30 p.m. today, half an hour before she was due for her next pain pill. The swelling in her face had peaked, things were pretty awful, and she was ready to warn off any and all readers who might consider having this procedure done in the future.

By this evening, she’d regained a good deal of composure…and she encouraged me to use this particular photo as well as all the others published here. We’re pretty sure nothing like this page has ever hit the Internet–at least we couldn’t find a blow-by-blow illustrated narrative to match it.

“Show them all of it,” she told me. “Maybe it’ll help somebody understand the process better before they make a decision one way or the other.”

Yep. That’s the idea, all right.

Okay. Our Product Review Rating(s) for Clear Choice Dental Implants–specifically the Tucson, Arizona, operation:

    1. Cost: A for Astronomical. There’s nothing cheap about this company.

    2. Caring: Five Stars. Their concern for Pam’s well being was blazingly obvious from the start. Of course, without that, we’d never have signed up in the first place.

    3. Competence: Excellent. These people know what they’re doing–and when they run into something they can’t handle (such as the surgeon whose fingers wouldn’t fit into Pam’s mouth) they admit it up front.

    4. Overall Value: Outstanding. Yes, we have a distance to travel yet, including follow up appointments and, in 6 months or so, replacement of Pam’s temporary prostheses with a more permanent set. But I can already see that we’re going to count this a bargain ten years down the road.

Post-Surgery Day Two

 48 hours after surgery, holding a towel-wrapped ice pack to her face.


48 hours after surgery, holding a towel-wrapped ice pack to her face.

Day Three : 72 Hours After Surgery

Noticeable improvement today. Neither swelling nor pain is gone; far from it. But both are noticeably reduced.

Pam calls Clear Choice and speaks to Mary. She (Pam) will need at least one more bottle of Nystatin suspension to combat the oral thrush effectively, which is no problem for the implant center. Those people understand even though Pam is requiring more meds to get through this than any other customer they’ve ever had.

Part of my redhead’s reason for calling is to say, “God bless you people!”

Mary asks, “Don’t you hate us enough to kill us?”

“No! I went 30 years without a smile, 15 without teeth!”

“And nobody could get it right, could they?”

“No!”

Pam doesn’t leave it there, though. She adds, “The first day after, I did want to loop a rope around my neck and Dr. Keys’ neck and cinch the knot–but no, not now!”

Later in the afternoon, restlessness takes over. We trek on out to the Canyon General, both to pick up a few more foods she might be able to eat and to ease her cabin fever. We’ve only been home for two days, but time doesn’t have much meaning yet. She’s got to get out.

We do find a few things that might work, including a couple of cream soups recommended by an old friend Pam hadn’t seen in decades.

The woman exclaimed in delight, “You’re Pam!” They’d known each other from way back…and she’d also had some dental implant work done. Not a full set, but to a degree she’d been there, done that.

All in all, a good day. Clear Choice personnel continue to respond in friendly and helpful fashion every time Pam calls in with a question or a problem…or even with an explanation of what she’s been through in the past and why I’m as protective of her as I am. At one point, Mary listens with open enthusiasm to Pam’s explanation of how she’s using ice for the swelling. Ice packs per se are something of a challenge, but filling a smoothie shaker with ice and Lemon Mist Natural soda?

Yeah, that works. Cools her from the inside.

She’s got a long way to go yet, but she’s healing at a decent clip so far.

Post-Surgery Day Three

Pam with her smoothie shaker full of iced Sierra Mist Natural lemon lime soda.

Pam with her smoothie shaker full of iced Sierra Mist Natural lemon lime soda.

Pam visits with her friend outside the Canyon General convenience store.

Pam visits with her friend outside the Canyon General convenience store.

UPDATE: December 27, 2012

The months between the day Pam had surgery in June and the day she got her permanent set of teeth in December were interesting times indeed. It took quite a while for the post-surgery pain to settle down, undoubtedly in part because of Pam herself. My redhead’s many disabilities leave her in pain 24/7…even without major surgical trauma added to the equation. Essentially, her system is so beaten down that she has no endorphins left.

In other words, her situation was hardly typical. Of 100 Clear Choice clients, it seems unlikely even one would be likely to have it as tough as my redhead did.

The dental staff at Clear Choice referenced that when they acknowledged that she has been in many ways the most challenging customer they’ve ever had.

Fortunately, they were up to the challenge. When my wife needed different medication prescriptions than most people would require, Dr. Keys worked with us until he understood the situation clearly and then took care of business. When Pam had questions, they had answers. When the first casting of the final, “permanent” teeth came out slightly on tilt, they went back to their in-house lab and redid the entire set of bridges to get the bite exactly right.

They were even able to come up with teeth small enough to truly fit my lady’s mouth–which is tiny, about the size the average ten year old child possesses. This is a miracle in itself; no other dentist ever came close. Her old dentures are huge compared to the new implants.

So, now that all is said and done…was it worth it?

Yep. We think so, anyway.

Pam’s appearance is dramatically improved. Instead of covering her mouth with her hand, she’s getting frequent compliments on her new smile. Additionally, she’s able to eat pretty much what she wants these days–especially nuts. She’d been craving various nuts for the past 15 no-teeth years. My honey goes nuts over nuts!

Downside: There is one, and it’s doubtful any implant providers–not just Clear Choice, but any of them–are going to tell you about it up front. The problem is this: Basically, the implants work a lot like dentures…except that you can’t take them out to clean them. When pieces of nuts or hamburger (the two worst offenders in my wife’s experience to date) get stuck under there, it’s not a fun time.

It’s not nearly as bad as regular dentures in one way. With dentures, you have the entire roof plate providing a playground for the odd seed or other irritant to play clean-me games. The upper implants are just like the lower ones–horseshoe only, no plate over the palate.

So, what to do when something does get caught under the implants?

Well, for one thing, take your Clear Choice provider seriously when he or she recommends the purchase of a Water Pik. Pam uses hers daily, to good effect.

SUMMARY: I still wouldn’t consider dental implants, not even if some mad dentist held a gun to my head. I’d rather risk a bullet. But for my wife, yes, it has been worth it. Scary, painful, difficult, and still worth it in the end. She’s eating regularly again, which she was not doing before we made the decision to get her the implants. Her weight is back up from a potentially life-threatening 87 pounds to right around 100 pounds, which is within 4 pounds of her ideal weight.

It’s our considered joint opinion that if you are seriously considering implant surgery and can handle the cost, Clear Choice is the only way to go.

The following photo was taken at Denny’s in Benson during the evening of December 10, 2012. Pam was dog tired, sick–she’d snagged a dose of near-pneumonia bronchitis and was on antibiotics at the time–and sporting a hack job on her hair managed by a 20 year old stylist just out of Hair Hacking College…but the teeth look great!

Pam smiles for the camera while we wait for supper to be served at Denny's.

Pam smiles for the camera while we wait for supper to be served at Denny’s.

UPDATE: March 1, 2013

Pam’s other health challenges continue, but she’s powerfully satisfied with her Clear Choice implants.

The only thing that still bugs her (understandably) is the fact that she can’t simply take the bridges out like dentures to clean them when food particles get stuck underneath. Her Water Pik gets most items, but not quite everything.

Despite that, however, she wouldn’t be without them. The pain still shows up, just a little, now and then…but these days, she says without hesitation, “I would do it again.”

That’s a pretty potent testimonial, right there.

UPDATE: September 17, 2014. Pam’s Alzheimer’s Disease (not previously mentioned in this post) is progressing enough that more family is rallying ’round, encouraging her to eat (anorexia), helping her sort and organize what had become a “borderline hoarder” bedroom, etc.–but she’s still feisty, still capable of surprising a lot of folks, and still “satisfied enough” with her Clear Choice implants.

Perhaps because of the Alzheimer’s, though–which is known to lower inhibitions so that those who have the disease tend to tell you what they really think–she does complain that they “feel like chalk teeth”. More than anything else, she considers the ads that tout them as feeling like “your own teeth” to be false advertising. And yes, she still gets food particles stuck under them.

But she is not saying, “Let’s get them taken out.” I’m quite certain that if she thought she was going to lose the implants for any reason, she’d absolutely freak.

120 thoughts on “Clear Choice Dental Implants: Product Review

  1. Read your blog about your wife’s experience ..I am scheduled to have my surgery in Jan in Dallas….while I haven’t had all the dental, issues your wife has had, I have been very nervous about the whole procedure and results…Despite the minor set backs your wife has, mainly related to pain, I was encouraged by your review and by the beautiful result of your wife’s smile! Thank you, Carol G

  2. Thanks for checking in, Carol. It’s good to read that this page has been of some help to you, and thanks for mentioning Pam’s smile. I’ll tell her about that in the morning. πŸ™‚

    I can’t imagine anybody who wouldn’t be nervous about the whole thing. At one time, I followed the professional rodeo circuit, riding saddle broncs and bulls. That was scary enough, but major oral surgery procedures are, in my opinion, much scarier.

  3. Thank you somuch for your/Pam’s incredible story. I just turned 63 and my mouth is falling apart. I live in the Tucson area so knowing this was in Oro Valley is comforting. I’m really scared (just like 99% of those out there) but I’m going to make an initial appointment.

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures (Pam is beautiful!) and for the details. The wonderful details.

  4. You’re more than welcome, Jonni. We’re just happy to hear the review (this page) helped in some way. Don’t blame you for being scared; I certainly would be, were I to consider implants.

    I agree that Pam is beautiful…inside and out. Took me seven marriages (no kidding) to get the right girl, but we’ve been hooked at the hip for 17 1/2 years now, so that’s good. πŸ™‚

  5. Pam says thanks, and of course that’s why she was willing to have her journey chronicled, to help others make decisions that are as informed as possible. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Ghost,
    I wish to thank you and Pam for telling your story in all it’s gruesome detail (including the cockroach!). I’ve been considering getting a consultation with Clear Choice and had been crusin’ the internet for customer reviews. I came across your story. It was very informative and well written. I live in CA so I’m guessing the price is probably higher here (as is everything!) but at least now I have a ball-park figure for the procedure. It’s interesting that their ad’s say you can have new teeth in ‘one day’. But obviously, there’s many more appts. involved and it’s not a ‘one day’ thing by any stretch of the imagination. I think Pam looks lovely with her new choppers and you’re obviously a very proud partner. Good job on supporting her through the worst of it. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience. You’re probably helping a lot more people than you know!

  7. Thanks, Debbie. You’re most likely correct about this post helping a lot more people than we know–especially since the total view count to date is over 15,000. Most people don’t make the (much appreciated) effort to comment, but if 1 out of 10 viewers read the entire review….:)

  8. Thank you for your review. I read your review several months ago and it really helped me make my final decision. I just had my surgery 3 days ago and I’m not in any pain but I’m very swollen. I hope Pam is doing better and thanks again for your review.

  9. Wow! Three days after surgery and no pain? Okay, so Pam had terrible swelling, too, but NO PAIN? Good for YOU! Thanks for commenting, Christine, and congratulations!

    Pam’s doing pretty well with her implants these days. Every once in a while she has problems with stuff getting stuck under the teeth forms that she can’t get out–but most of that was solved after (a) Dr. Keys personally did the cleaning the last time she was in, admitting the previous tech hadn’t done the job right, and (b) we got her another new Waterpik that seems to be helping a lot.

  10. What a great review. Thank you so much for your detail oriented blog. This is just what I needed to make a decision on Clear Choice. It sounds as though Pam is getting along well. Bless you for your insight to this procedure.

  11. Glad you found it worth reading, Kristie, and thanks for commenting. Yes, Pam is getting along well.

  12. I am considering this procedure. Very frightening but it helped to know how it all eorks. Wonder if you can just get uppers.

  13. I don’t recall if they said Pam could have done that or not (just uppers). She’d been wearing an upper denture only in public for years, but I’m not sure Clear Choice is willing to offer the option.

    It always amazed me that my wife (or anyone else) could wear half a set and make it work. I tried it a few times (dentures) just to see what it would take, and the learning curve was way too steep for me. πŸ™‚

  14. Thank you for the detailed information. You answered any questions I had. I am not sure if I will go forward with. it.

  15. I know I wouldn’t–but then, I’ve had my teeth out since 1992, quit wearing dentures by the end of 1993, and would jump off the top of the Empire State Building before I’d consider implants. I do understand why my wife considered them essential, though.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your wife’s story so completely. I’ve been contemplating for a while, I have all caps in my mouth., not ideal. It’s helps to get a rough understanding of the price, the process and the impact. Thanks again for sharing. I wish you both the best.

  17. You’re welcome, Lori, and thanks for commenting.

    To date, Pam still gets frustrated at times when stuff gets stuck under her implants–mostly because the flossing method she was shown to take care of that was something she did perfectly the first time but never again–but despite that, she would not want to be without them.

  18. Thank you very, very much for sharing this. My father’s second visit is tomorrow and after reading a good many reviews (some bad some good), I was beginning to have second thoughts about the procedures. In case you were wondering, my father is having both top and bottom done and I am very scare for him since this is not a painless procedure nor is it cheap. You cleared up a good many questions I had. Your wife is a very strong woman. I hope the Dallas facility is as caring and responsive to patient’s needs as your facility is. I would really like to know how Christine is faring since she had hers done two months ago. Are there any minor discomforts or oddities my father should be aware of? How long was Pam’s pain and discomfort?

  19. Pam’s pain was, according to all reports, an extreme case. The worst of the pain settled down within a week or so, but it was several months before it was totally gone. As for discomfort, she still has some–not every second of the day, but every time she gets a food particle jammed in between implant and gum tissue. She’s told me that overall it took her the first full year to feel like she was truly “settled in” with them. But there are a couple of complications with hers that most customers would not have:

    1. She has a “dog roof” mouth. Since the implants are horseshoe shaped and do not have dental “plates” covering the palate, she has more trouble with certain foods (peanut butter, for example) than most people would have.

    2. For some reason, she was able to handle a special flossing technique the first time a Clear Choice tech showed it to her–but not after that. Being able to floss between implants and gums is hugely important, and she basically can’t. Which means her Water Pik has to pretty much do it all (although she uses a spin brush as well and does have some success with that).

    I don’t know if Christine will be checking back in or not. We can hope.

  20. Thank you Ghost32. I will keep you posted on my father’s condition. Thank you for sharing your wife’s journey!

  21. i have denture over two years i can not use the bottom at all not even one min. i wear the top but when i am ready to eat i have too take it off i want to know how match cost me to solve the problem so i can wear both and eat with it comfortly i am 61 years old thank you

  22. Ali, I appreciate your dilemma, but I’m not in the dentures trade–just the husband of a woman who got dental implants two years and three months ago. I had my own teeth out in 1992 (22 years ago) and wore dentures for a while but eventually gave up on them completely. Thus, since I am “100% toothless 100% of the time,” I’d be the wrong one to consult about costs to fix your problem.

    That said, you should be able to talk to a dentist about relining your dentures, which means adjusting them so they fit more comfortably–but every dentist has a different rate schedule for that. And even then, it’s been my experience that “sore spots” will still develop unless you do some work on the dentures yourself. Not that I can recommend such a procedure–I’m not trying to practice dentistry here–but while I was still wearing dentures, I got myself an automotive point file–and later a Dremel–so that I could file or grind down the high spots on the dentures that weren’t fitting right AFTER the dentist had done all he could.

    I’m 70 years old (almost 71), and you’re welcome.

  23. THANKS x 1,000,000 for taking the time to share your experience. You are winderful people to take all this time to help others. Best Wishes Always! πŸ™‚

  24. Thank you for you and Pam’s story. I have lost 75% of my upper teeth and am very unhappy with the denture. I have been considering implants for the past year, but have been reluctant due to the numbers of implants that would be required, not to mention the pain and discomfort and time that would be required. Pam’s experience has convinced me to go ahead with Clear Choice. I also am 71 but figure that in the years I have left, having a full set of teeth will make a difference in the quality of life remaining. Thanks again.

  25. Good for you, Hugh. I don’t figure a decision like that is often easy, whichever way it goes, and I’m glad the post was able to help you a bit.

  26. Can we ever understand that! Pam toughed through it all pretty well, but I wouldn’t ever consider it for myself.

  27. Amazing reading this. I have always had terrible luck when it comes to painful procedures and never heal well. Seems like your red head and I have some things in common. At this point I have a mouth full of very expensive dental work that is all failing, including a 2 month old implant that will just be a waste of several thousand dollars. I honestly cannot say after reading this if I can go through what you have to go through to do this but so glad to read this realistic story. I wish you both well and hope that I can come to some decision soon as I am feeling miserable! Amazing that you did this for so many of us.

  28. Thanks for commenting, Cherie. I totally understand about your need to “come to some decision soon” and wish you the best.

    May the blessings be.

  29. I just wanted to Echo the thankfulness expressed in other comments. I just turned 29 and have had dental problems/pain my whole life due to soft teeth and an affinity for sugar. I initially started treatment at a dental school (U of Memphis) for full mouth implants- but they kept dragging the procedures out and were not good with patient relations at all that my parents were looking for other affordable implant places that would last me the rest of my life. Long story short, Clear Choice quoted us 12-15k less than private practices and this review has helped me see that Clear choice is the best option for me and I’m excited for my appointment tomorrow. Thanks for being so open and brave, and your lady looks beautiful! I’ll pray all her ailments will go away. God bless!

  30. Thanks for your wife amazing story Ghost! Although it was painful, seeing her smile I’m sure she is happy she decided to get implants. Very encouraging for us who are over 50. I wish I could afford it!

  31. Kim, she definitely does not regret getting them–even though she continues to have difficulty with food particles getting stuck under them, and the dental hygienist admits she’s never seen anyone build tarter as fast as Pam does. She has to go get them scraped clean every quarter now; six months was proving to be too long an interval between cleanings. πŸ™‚

    I do sympathize with your wishing you had the money for the procedure. Frankly, we could not have done it, either, any year prior to the exact year (2012) that she got the implants.

  32. I read your account without looking ahead, although very tempted. I stopped several times to read an excerpt to my wife, exclaiming “I love this guy. He sounds just like me.” Your final comments about Alzheimer’s brought tears to my eyes. We wish the best for you.

  33. thank you for posting your wife’s experience with dental implants, and yes her story is still helping people after all this time. I’ve worn (and hated) dentures for 25 years, but always considered the cost of implants too high. your post has helped me reconcile the cost with quality of life, so at age 67 I’m calling for a appointment.
    thank you

  34. Thanks for commenting, Roddy–and good luck with your appointment, too. I certainly understand hating your dentures; I’ve not worn mine at all since 1994.

  35. Hi Ghost,

    I loved this word documentary. I feel that Pam is one lucky woman and so are you. I wish you both the best in life for your honesty and down right goodness. God Bless. I’d love to finish my procedure but haven’t the money. Hubby out of work again. Ah well . Maybe someday. It’s only $5,600. I was lied to by this dentist here but what can you do. By the way, you mentioned that Pam hasn’t any endorphins. Have you considered pain management?Well at any rate, I enjoyed your story. Pam’s story and wish you both all the blessings in the world. Thank you for sharing her courage and yours. Truly inspiring. You both look fantastic.

  36. Thanks for commenting, Denise. Yes, I know what you mean about a dentist lying to you. That was a big part of my education in my early adult years, learning to expect bankers, doctors, lawyers, police, and other “authority” figures to fib on a regular basis–then enjoying a pleasant surprise when I found one who was truthful.

    Pain management? Depends what you mean by that. Most “pain management” groups we’ve seen are mostly focused on “cut down the meds”, so they’re lying, too. Pam has the ability to “manage” her pain mentally–to some degree–IF she has a reasonable amount of prescription medication to “take off the edge”. With no help at all, the intensity of the pain is simply too overwhelming for that to work.

    Thanks for the good wishes, and back at you on that one. πŸ™‚

  37. The clear choice 4 on 4 dental implant Interim protheses was completely paid for in cash and installed 10 days ago (Tuesday). 18 of my teeth were extracted. From day 1 after surgery(Thursday) the post surgery pain management was an extreme problem. The clear choice dentist insisted my pain was abnormal and insisted they could provide a pain management program to help and refilled the pain meds by phone. Because, I have had extensive dental work in the past, including many root canals, partials, fillings, caps, etc as a result of a lifetime of GERD. I decided to go with their advice on pain management….until day 5. On day 5 (Sunday), the pain was so extreme (about a 9 on a 1-10 scale) I decided to contact clear choice dentists and told them if they could not help me and I was on my way to the local hospital emergency room. Clear choice agreed to meet with me and provided a local anesthetic that stopped all pain and suffering in seconds. The followup pain management meds and instructions were followed, however, the pain returned in 6 hours. The following evening (Monday, day 6 after surgery) they agreed to allow me to come into the office and provided a local anaesthetic followed by the same pain management instructions and meds. I followed their instructions for 1 more day and then told them again their pain management program was ineffective and that I was going to seek another medical opinion on why my pain was ” so abnormal.” I contacted a local “yellow pages” dentist who said my pain was not abnormal for day 7 post surgery and provided immediate pain relief and an effective pain management program. On day 8 after surgery I found another specialist dentist to take over all technical management of the remaining work for my 4 on 4 implants.

    In summary, the technical work of clear choice is Grade “A.” However, because of their ineffective pain management program I would give them a Grade “F” and not recommend them for any technical procedures at any cost !.

  38. Wow. Rod, I’m sorry to hear ANYBODY had to go through that; your experience makes Pam’s look like a walk in the park. If you happen to drop back by this page, would you please consider letting our readers know WHICH Clear Choice franchise failed so badly on pain management? I know the dental surgeon who was allied with Clear Choice when he did Pam’s implants was not involved; he and his wife have since split off and operate their own show entirely under another name.

  39. Ghost,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of this. I too have been going through the appointments to start this procedure. It is so heartwarming to read how well you took care of your honey!! She is a lucky lady. I am scared, but definantly going to go through with this procedure. I have my second appointment this Thursday morning, then I get to schedule the surgery!!!!!! I am ready and reading how your wife would do it all over again helped me to make the decision to go ahead for sure. Prayers for your family at this time….

    Thanks Again!!

    Kaycee

  40. You’re very welcome, and best wishes for great results with your procedure, Kaycee. I certainly don’t blame you for being scared, and we’ll keep good thoughts heading your way for Thursday morning as well.

    May the blessings be,

  41. Thank you Ghost and Pam for sharing your story. You answered about 90 % of my questions (especially cost) about ClearChoice.
    I hope you and Pam, with her beautiful smile, have many years of happiness together.

  42. About eight years ago, I went to a clinic I saw on TV. Didn’t do any checking, just went for it. (BAD idea!) Their approach was to cap all my teeth. Long painful story. Bottom line: Almost all the caps have leaked. I have had four teeth pulled and am looking at another three or four in the near future.
    I hear you about rather taking a bullet (and I have, so I understand you basis for comparison); but I sure don’t look forward to dentures.
    While the cost gives me pause, I need to do something and this seems like the best option.
    Thank you for your honest and thorough story!
    FreddieB

  43. Glad you found the post helpful, Freddie. Pam has taken a bullet, too–a pair of them, in fact, though that was a few years before we met. Good luck with your efforts going forward; I don’t think there’s anything in the world that’s enjoyable to contemplate when it comes to dental work.

  44. I think I’m most impressed with the love and devotion you have shown to your redheaded honey. I have a total of 3 implants and lots of crowns on my teeth. At 67 I have had more than my share of root canals, crowns and the implants and am sure I am responsible for a good chunk of my dentist’s kids’ college tuition. LOL Hope your wife is all better and she sure looks terrific with her new choppers. I can’t imagine what it must be like to always cover your mouth and not smile and eating soft food for years. Good for you for taking the plunge!

  45. Thanks for commenting, Lorbee. Pam is NOT “better”, as her various diseases, many of them, are progressive. Currently, her constant anorexia and head to toe fibromyalgia pain top the list, though her Alzheimer’s is always in the rankings somewhere. She’s also broken a couple of chips off the back edges of the implants; we’ll need to have those looked at during her cleaning appointment in October. Yet she hangs in there, day by day, and every day makes the implants seem that much better as an investment.

  46. You are a beautiful couple. Thank you for the detailed information and for sharing your story. I pray peace for the both of you. Your love for her is inspiring. Bless y’all

  47. Thank you so much for detailing Pams experience. I have already decided to do it and am having full upper and lower implant bridges put in. My biggest concern has been the anesthesia and keeping my pain under control. I broke my ankle in November and the er doc said I was inches away from being putting under completely when they set my bone because I’d grown such a tolerance to most drugs. Specifically pain meds. I now take suboxone. A medication that helps enough with my every day pain but more importantly keeps me from feeling like pain meds control my life. Downside is that it is going to make it very difficult to impossible for any pain medication to help me. Either really strong med or very high doses. N possibly both. If it works as all. My surgery is on the 16th and I’m freaking out! Haha! I just hope we are able to figure something out. At least I know now the truth about what to expect. Everyone kept telling me it won’t be bad. I’ll feel fine by day 2. In my heart I knew better but thank you for putting it out there. πŸ™‚ wish you and you lovely redhead all the love and luck in the world! πŸ™‚

  48. Pam has that same problem, i.e. extreme tolerance to most drugs–except those to which she is allergic, of course, such as Neurontin. (Neurontin kicked her pain’s butt…but also nearly blinded her. Within 2 weeks of starting on that drug, she could no longer tell a stick from a snake out in the yard. Since we live in rattler country, off grid in the desert, that was mighty spooky. It took months for her sight to return more or less to normal.)

    Anyway, you’re no doubt 100% correct about your pain medication challenge. In Pam’s case, the dental surgeon admitted her case was complex and that they’d had to give her more meds than any other patient they’d had to date. Love and luck back atcha, and may the blessings be.

  49. Hi- I read your info about you & your Wife. Glad your Wife was able to manage the procedure situation. I see that this is not a 1 day procedure that I had heard of others that are with implants…. before hearing Clear Choice. I had heard Clear Choice’s commercial twice on TV. Do they accept any Senior Discounts? Your writing was very thorough to get the feel of what it would be like…. but I did not check if there are locations that you would be getting different office treatment. Thank you, Mindy

  50. Hi, Mindy. The surgery itself is a one day procedure, but the overall number of trips to their office (Clear Choice) does add up to a lot more than that.

    They don’t offer any Senior Discounts up front–which is not all that surprising, considering the fact that the vast majority of their customers are probably Seniors in the first place. Whether or not you could negotiate on that, though, I don’t know. It might be possible, or might not, or might vary with the individual franchise.

    Pam got all of her treatment at a single location. Still does, although the dental surgeon who did the procedure broke away from Clear Choice the following year. Anyway, she still goes to the same office to get cleanings done every few months (more often than most people, and she builds up plaque at unusual speed).

  51. Lots of people do. That would scare me, but then again, the price in the U.S. is pretty scary in and of itself as well. πŸ™‚

  52. Ghost,

    Thank you for your blog. I just read the whole thing (except all the comments – just a few of those). I have to say that what I read was a love story. Not the teeth particularly, but how I could see how deeply you love your wife. So sweet and concerned. Being papa bear when you needed to be.

    So sorry to read that she has Alzheimer’s. She is certainly lucky to have you.

    I do appreciate you posting the costs. The nearest center is in Tampa (4 hours). My $2,200 bridge failed a few weeks ago. I am looking at getting two implants and a new crown for one of the teeth and the other has to be extracted as it is flush with the gum line. All of this will cost around $5,500 – and just to take care of 3 teeth. I have more crowns than the Queen of England and need at least two more. It’s a math, practical and emotional problem to figure out. Can’t thank you enough for providing an honest view.

    Prayers to you and Pam.

  53. Thanks, Jean. Wish you the best of luck with your “math, practical, and emotional” calculations, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

    Pammie continues to hang in there. Her weight is even lower than it was when this review was written–82 to 84 pounds most days, at 5′ 1″–but she hasn’t let that stop her.

  54. Thanks for your incredible story and journey. I am so impressed. I have gone thru all the paper work and start my implant advernture with Clear Choice in Walnut Creek, California this week. Im extrmely frightened and excited all the same time. The staff in Walnut Creek are working for me at a high “10” and I cannot wait. Congradulations to you and Pam for providing the photos and story. Frankly, I hung on every word and each and every photo of your beautiful lady. I don’t like pain…but no gain. My old teeth are just shot from Blood Pressure Meds. Wish me well Please!!! Thanks

  55. Mike, you’ve got our “wishing you well” wishes, for sure. We both totally understand both the “extremely frightened” and “excited” emotions. It’s really good to hear that you’re working with a high “10” staff.

  56. Hi Ghost 32Writer,
    I have been considering this implant procedure (full upper and lower), for almost two years. I am now visiting my daughter and family in the Dallas area and visited the local Clear Choice facility here yesterday. They were upfront about the cost ($42,000) but I feel they downplayed the possable pain and suffering. Thank you and your lovely wife for sharing your story. Even knowing her experience, I think I will follow up and proceed with the surgury, but back in Tampa, where I learned a new Clear Choice facility is less than 30 minutes from my home. I had considered going to Costa Rico but reading your story, I believe that, if a lot of follow up is needed, that could prove to be even more costly. I will turn 76 years old tomorrow (Christmas Eve) and “want my smile back”. I just hope my courage holds out and I can do this. If any of your readers have knowledge about Clear Choice in Tampa I would like to hear what they have to say. THANK YOU again for your thoughtfulness in providing your story.
    Carol H.

  57. You’re more than welcome, Carol. I’m sure nearly every implant-oriented dental surgeon out there does indeed downplay the possible pain and suffering. It’s scary enough that even without knowing it could get really rough, a lot of people undoubtedly “chicken out”–for that matter, Pam almost did; she was on the ragged edge for weeks before the surgery. I never really thought about the huge potential cost increase for those choosing Costa Rica if they turn out to need massive follow up; thanks for pointing that out. Glad we were able to help, at least a little bit.

  58. Thanks so much for taking the time to document this. I just went through the procedure three days ago. I only had my upper teeth removed because my lower teeth still function well. The cost was $19,000.00. Because I had a cold, I was not put under during the procedure but did get local anesthesia. I felt no pain during the surgery and was glad I was alert to follow what was happening. The team was very professional and kept me apprised along the way as to what they were doing. If you are squeamish, I would ask to be put under. My wife was waiting in the recovery room across the hall and she had a hard time hearing the crunching and drilling. She was amazed I didn’t scream or pass out but as I have stated, there was no pain and being an observer to my own surgery was facinating. The day after surgery, I felt some pain and had quite a bit of swelling. At day 2, the pain and swelling was about the same. Now three days out, the swelling has gone down considerably and I at spaghetti for dinner. To this point, I had only eaten pudding and ensure. Although I was prescribed vicodin, I have not needed it. I have been strictly on Motrin and antibiotics. I should also mention that I have smoked for 47 years. I am now 60. I have not had a cigarette since just before surgery and am wearing 21 mg nicotine patches. Because of my preoccupation with having all of my upper teeth removed and replaced, I have not really missed smoking. According to the literature, you increase the risk of not having a successful outcome by seven times if you smoke during the first 20 days of recovery. Having sacrificed my natural teeth for a better smile and no pain while eating, there is no way I will risk this not working while smoking. The temporary teeth they have provided me (I don’t get the permanent teeth for almost 8 months) are getting more comfortable each day. It is strange though to not have feeling in them though and I keep working I might bite my tongue. I has to be much more disconcerting for those that get both their uppers and lowers done at the same time. I will say, my wife has been so supportive. I have kidded her over the years that when the kids moved out, she could direct all her nurturing toward me. I have to say, she has been there for me the past three days, treating me like a kid with the flu. Confirmed…I married the right girl. I’ll try to update this as things progress because I think it’s important for anyone considering this procedure to be armed with as much knowledge as possible. This is a life changing step. So far, it has been a good experience for me!

  59. Mark, that is flat-out awesome; thanks for taking the time to post your detailed comment–and we look forward to the updates.

    Pam’s pain levels were obviously at the extreme high end of the “possibility scale”, with yours being pretty close to the low end–and good for you. If our readers consider both examples, it may well help them brace for whatever their own experiences bring to the table.

  60. Ghost, I wish I had found your posts prior to my surgery. Your thorough documentation of what to expect has helped me with the recovery process.

    I noticed my first post with you was somewhat garbled. I recently purchased a new phone that insists that it knows better than me what I want to say and constantly inserts different words and phrases, many times without my noticing. Today’s contribution is being composed on my computer and should be easier to read and understand!

    Backing up on my story a bit, I am someone who looks deeply into things before I make a decision. This behavior by the way drives my wife crazy in that she is more spur of the moment than I. While I’m reading the directions for a new toaster for example, she will have it plugged in and operating. By the time she has finished eating her toast, I am finally armed with the knowledge to make my own. With that said, I looked at going to Mexico and also consulted with other doctors prior to choosing Clear Choice. The horror stories I found online and the inconvenience associated with complications forced me to rule our the Mexico option, which is considerably less expensive than Clear Choice. The other doctors I consulted with required me to go to different offices on different days to get the procedure completed. I am in business for myself and could not afford that much time off. Their pricing was comparable to Clear Choice but the “all in one day” convenience of Clear Choice made them my leading contender. What finally sealed the deal was a conversation I had with a gentleman who was putting a new exhaust on my car. I had just come from an appointment with one of the “other” doctors and was on the fence as to who to choose. I noticed this mechanic had a perfect smile (almost too perfect), so I asked him if those were his real teeth. He told me they were not. He had been to Clear Choice two years prior and told me it was the best decision he had ever made. He told me he had wished he had done it years ago and then said, “if you can afford it, do it.”. “You won’t be sorry.”. That is what sealed the deal for me. It seemed like fate that I would come across this guy at a time that I was really wrestling with a decision.

    Now back to the present. This morning (Post Surgery – day 4) I woke up with what appears to be a black eye. I slept without elevating my head last night for the first time since surgery. I don’t think I’ll try that again for several days. I think the swelling from my jowls may have migrated up to my eye socket area. At any rate, the swelling in my jowls, which was somewhat pronounced yesterday is no longer perceptible. Other than the black eye, I look pretty normal now. It does hurt to smile, which is a pity, because I’d like to show off my smile, but doing so stretches the stitches in my mouth and causes slight pain. I also miss my morning ritual bacon-egg and cheese bagel at the MC-D’s down the street. If food is a major part of one’s life, this recovery period (soft foods) could be “inconvenient”. Luckily, I eat to exist rather than exist to eat. I know that is not true for everyone.

    The temporary teeth are not a great fit at this point. I am hoping they can make adjustments at my Post Surgery 10 day appointment. When they took my mold right after the surgery, the doctor kept telling me to pull my chin in. That is not how my chin normally rests, but I complied, thinking he knew best. Now I notice that when I pull my chin in from it’s normal relaxed position, the teeth fit perfectly. Unfortunately, this is not a normal position for me, so I hope they can address this.

    One other suggestion. I have had severely chapped lips from immediately after surgery to today. I would recommend that whomever opts for this procedure have a stock of Chap Stick on hand. You won’t want to run to the store for the first few days. With that said, plan ahead and get everything you might need BEFORE the day of surgery.

    For anyone that is wondering, my surgery was performed at the Edina, MN location.

    I guess that’s it for now.

    Ghost, thanks for the quick reply. I hope your wife is doing well. Both of you are inspirations. I hope you know how important your posts have been to those who have considered this procedure and how helpful they are to those that are going through it. I don’t want to take away from your efforts by posting my own current experience but do hope that our combined documentation will as you say, “help others brace for whatever their own experiences bring to the table.”.

  61. Mark, pretty much any of my posts (perhaps excluding the extensive fiction pieces) are nothing more than jumping-off points. It’s the addition of comments from interested readers, or the lack thereof, that makes or breaks them. Example: My Survival Cabin post (Full title: How to Build a Survival Cabin on a Shoestring Budget) was originally published on another site that I did not own. The late Red Elk, a Metis medicine man from Washington State, began contributing extensively, hundreds of lengthy and always useful comments. That activity pushed the article to #1 on Google for years, and a lot of people were inspired by it–more by Red Elk’s work than my own, to be frank about it. Point being, never think that you’re “taking away from my efforts” by posting your own experience. If anything, you’re adding to my efforts, possibly even multiplying them exponentially.

    My wife is doing as well as could be expected, considering her massive number of other challenges. Thanks for seeing us both as inspirations.

    Your Chapstick recommendation is a very good one; shame on me for not having mentioned that. Pam went through a lot of the stuff during her post surgery recovery.

    I have to say, it sometimes takes a whole lot of “push back” to get the doc to listen to the patient about things like your natural jaw position. Hang in there, and please do keep on posting updates.

  62. Many thanks for your posts, you are a true gentleman in every sense of the word. I’m wishing you and Pam all the best.

  63. This will most probably be my last post until after my 10 day post-op exam. I am now six days out from my surgery. All of the swelling is gone and my face looks normal, with the exception of some minimal yellowish bruising below my right eye. I don’t have any pain except where the temporary fixture is hitting the roof of my mouth. Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, if I pull my chin back from an at rest position, my new teeth fit perfectly. Unfortunately, that’s not how chew. I am hoping they can adjust both of these issues when I go back for my post-op check.

    I had also mentioned in a previous post that I was not sedated for my surgery due to a cold. Although the surgery itself was not painful, the shots to numb the area were. Despite numbing gel prior to the injections, I found myself clenching my fists and my eyes were tearing due to the pain of the injections. The doctor was very apologetic and did these injections as quickly as possible, but I thought I should note this. If you opt to have this surgery without anesthesia, THE INJECTIONS ARE VERY PAINFUL. Once you get by that, the rest is fine.

    I’ll update again after my post-op!

  64. Jennifer: A gentleman, eh? You know, I’ve never once thought of myself as such, but I do thank you for the sentiment. Thanks for the good wishes. πŸ™‚
    ——————————–
    Mark: Good warning on the pain from the injections. Glad to hear things are getting back to normal. We’ll be looking forward to your next update (and hoping the dentist can “hear” you this time when you discuss your crucial jaw placement issue).

  65. Ghost, thanks so much to you and Pam for this in-depth documentary of her experience with Clear Choice. I have put down my deposit for my procedure (in Walnut Creek, CA, like one of the previous posters)–both upper and lowers being replaced–and, while I am excited about it, I’ll admit to being a bit of a wuss as to the possible amount of post-op pain, as well as a bit concerned for a comfortable setting and food getting stuck between gums and the implants.

    Nevertheless, reading this has helped me enormously, as I have a far better idea of what (and what not) to expect, realizing, of course, that every patient reacts differently. Wishing you and Pam all the best.

  66. Thank you for your input and informed decisions, questions, considerations, etc. I am thinking of getting upper and lower dental implants and I thank you for documenting the process!

  67. You’re welcome, Ivy, and the best of luck to you. (I figure anybody pondering these questions can use all the luck they can get.) πŸ™‚

  68. HELLO FRIENDS……….I have been following your posts with incredible passion and detail My name is Mike and Im going in for my first procedure this MONDAY March 21 at 0630 AM 2016 I have followed Pam and James with stunning interest and bated breath, IM HAVING MY PROCEDURE in the Walnut Creek office and I feel Im in the best hands possible as their staff is 100% on their game. Lead by my contact there Ms Jordan Sproul she is the best and I feel extremely comfortable with her and the incredible Doctors there.. Although Im frightened beyond my years actually. Wish me luck and good fortune please Im 4 days out from my procedure YIKES!!!!! Mike G.

  69. HELLO JAMES. I would love to chit chat with you a bit as Im also going through my first procedure this Monday Morning March 21st, 2016 at 0630 AM. My email address is: classglass@jps.net I would really appreciat your update as I am right behind you, Sir Thanks Mike G.

    Im using the WALNUT CREEK Office also

  70. Mike, congratulations on this big step! Do let us know how it goes. I also love the Walnut Creek office, which is where I’m having complete All-On-Four upper and lower dental implant surgery on May 4. Sending good energies your way!

  71. May the blessings be, Mike. It’s good to hear from you–and also from James–that you have the “perfect team” at Walnut Creek. And congratulations on your courage as well; it’s only common sense be spooked when contemplating such a procedure. πŸ™‚

  72. WOW…………..SO VERY HONORED to receive commentary from both James and Ivy and (Ghost32) Pammie’s hubby… Wow James I’m ahead of you I guess………May our God’s power and presence guide Dr Norris and Dr Niggenbrugge hands and talents. Which I’m 1000 % positive they they will have their “A” team working for me this coming Monday…Just a few days away………..Dang I’m scared……….But reading all your posts really does help my enormous anxiety for sure. James you have been posting for awhile but I’m ahead of you on “OUR” Surgery date so I will Post when I get home and feel OK to do so. I have read all the pro’s and con’s and feel comfortable in the fact that God is watching and I’m with the greatest team in the Walnut Creek Office That in and of itself is so reassuring !~!~!! >>> Spooked is the word of the day.. Please pass my Luv to Pam .. she is my hero !!!! Talk to you all soon. James you are local Luv to grab a cup of Joe with you sometime….Maybe at their coffee and refreshments table ?!?!? Wish me well all !!! Best personal regards…. Mike G (classglass@jps.net)

  73. Hey Mike, wishing you well for your big day this week! Relax, I’ve heard nothing but great things about the procedure. If there’s pain, it should only last a few days at the most. They do provide pain pills but many people haven’t even used them. My big surgery isn’t until May 4, but I went in last week to have a molar extracted (it wasn’t going to hold out until May). Dr. Nggebrugge was great. Yep, I’m in Walnut Creek. How about we meet up for coffee sometime after my procedure in May? Then we can show off our new smiles and talk about our experiences.

  74. James. You are on !!! As long as you allow me to buy… HaHa.. No Charge at the refreshments table I have been told. Really I’m worried and frightened by in and of itself. Just anxiety about Nottin.. Truly they are great there., I’m sure like me you have met both Doc’s and they are soooo very impressive for sure. And you have met Jordan, Carly and Nicole and Christy. They are also tremendous !!!! Thanks for the good words…I am also reassured but your commentary really helps me get over that huge hump. I am also very nervous about this. But I am only afraid of fright itself…So why worry yah know. I chose being put out so I won’t know anything until they wake me up. They called today and advised me to bring a blanket as it is very cold in the operating room… The adventure begins !!!!!!!!!!!!!Wow..Wow..Wow

  75. Mike, I believe you made the right call, choosing to be knocked out. Pam went the other route (gas only) and got through it okay, but if I were ever to consider the procedure, you can bet I’d go the way you’re going. And they’re right about the blanket in two ways: The ambient temperature AND your body’s tendency to generate less internal heat after going through the procedure. Adventure on!

  76. WELL FRIENDS…………THIS IS MICHAEL GOTFRIED Writing to all my Implant buddies for an update. I had my first procedure last Monday in the Walnut Creekl office performed by Dr Niggenbrugge (DR “N”)……. he was great // tremendous // caring and informitive and his bedside demeanor was the best. They hooked me up to the IV / shot the Meds in there and I was a gonner. I got there at 0600 and at 1730 I walked out of there with a full complement of new “Temporary” full mouth of teeth. Once the Meds left me…..Wow Katie bar the door!!! Ouch the dental pain was no less then horriffic from my upper and lower jaw area.. Then the brusing showed itself with more pain… I highly suggest to follow the staff and doctors instruction and it will pass. I’m into my 5th day and doing very well with mush less discomfort !!!! Just follow the rules and as Im experiencing you will doing much better. My new smile is more then incredible like watching the photos of our good friend PAMMIE.. I am a duplicATE. I should have done this years ago. I have a long way to go getting use to my new mouth / bite. There are obviously NO nerves in the implant so it will take sometime to get use to….But dang the worst part is over now and full speed ahead…Thanks so much for all the great advice. James You are next buddy Thanks Mike G.

  77. Congratulations Mike, you did it! So happy you are feeling good about having the procedure and that your new smile is what you hoped for. One question… when the meds wore off and the pain was so bad, did you take the painkillers? And did they work? Has the pain mostly gone away by now? I’m not really afraid of the pain but not looking forward to it, either… just bracing myself for it. Hope you’re doing okay with eating soft foods and using the water pik. Good work, guy!

  78. Hey Jamie Howdy my good buddy.. Well Im 6 days post surgery. Still in some pain, but nearly as bad as the first two or three days. Im speaking the truth when I say that I remember the Photos of Pammie on her post surgery days and I can commiserate with her. It is painful..NO question about it. But it willget better quickly if you follow their guidelines. Pain Meds..I was forced to gobble them down and then go to my own pain pills. It was short term though. I was blown away by the black and blue brusing. My bottom jaw was so sore that I was sure that I went 6 rounds with Muhammed Ali !!!!! That is better now also.
    Im still in pain (Moderate) but sooooo much better. I am eating nothing but soft foods but I don’t dig around there much due to the rawness. I am litely brushing and gargle with their rinse. BUT I got to tell everybody. When I look in the mirror and see my new beautiful smile…I still become emotional with pride and gratitude and thank Dr “N” and his staff at the Walnut Creek Office of Clear Choice…They are Gods given word for a miracle!!!! James lets get together anytime and I will show off my HUGE SMILE for you and proud to do it !!!! Thanks all my 1st after surgery exam is this week.. I will advise all after their look see !!!! Tx so much Mike G

  79. Awesome, Mike. I’m really glad to see your comments, both the upside about your beautiful smile and your detailed rundown regarding the post-op pain and recovery. Sounds like you’re right on target!

    I’ll definitely have to remember to read these to Pammie tomorrow.

  80. Thanks for posting, Mike. It’s good to know what the after-effects are, from you, Ghost and Pammie, as well as others who have posted here. Definitely looking forward to meeting you, Mike. Mid-May sounds good? Then we can take a selfie and post our new smiles here!

    Thanks Ghost, for starting this very important thread. Glad that Pammie is enjoying her new teeth, despite all the setbacks. She is one brave lady.

  81. Thanks, James. The thread does seem to be worthwhile, big time, judging by the comments over the years. An yes, the redhead is one brave lady. She even married me after I’d had six divorces, though we’d been together for 9 1/2 years before she took the plunge. (Had a seizure on the steps outside of the courthouse after the ceremony, too, just to give you an idea how stressful THAT was for her!) We get to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in May and the 20th anniversary of our meeting (and quick hookup) next autumn. Still hooked at the hip, too. There isn’t any getting away from a redhead, you know… πŸ™‚

  82. I found this astounding post while researching implants for a friend, and I feel compelled to say something just because it’s like responding to a friend or relative (I even have a Pam in the family who looks a bit like your lovely lady!). Every woman should be lucky enough to find a guy who cares for her the way you do.

    On the advice side, I can only say that it seems the experience depends on the particular facility. There are a lot of horror stories from other locations; you were lucky to find one that seems to be one of the best.

  83. Thanks for commenting–especially the part about this being an “astounding” post, which is gratifying for sure! I’ll be sure to let my redhead know (in the morning, when she’s up) that you also have “a Pam in the family”, too. πŸ™‚

    Also, a double Thank You for your remark about “…the experience depends on the particular facility….” No kidding; that is absolute fact.

  84. Mike G writing….Hi fellow implant people!!!! I am about a full month out now and had my first check up in the Walnut Creek office. Those folks are so cool, professional, friendly and informative. I am more then thrilled with my mouth full of beautiful new teeth. Ghost…how is Pammie doing now/???? I am experiencing NO pain or discomfort and learning to deal with my new bite. It is actually a breeze now and getting better as time passes. The thrill is the profound ability to smile widely at my leisure without the embarrassment of decayed and ugly and missing bad teeth. What an undesirable honor and full privilege to say so. Thank God for Dr “N” and Dr Morris in Walnut Creek along with their great staff led my Ms Jordan Sproul. I cannot recommend those guys more then I have.. They are just GREAT !!!! James you are next buddy!!!! Starbucks or Peets would be just great!!! Anytime Buddy

  85. Awesome, Mike; delighted to hear your teeth are doing the job for you. As for how Pammie is doing, that requires a two part answer:

    1. Clear Choice wise, she still wouldn’t be without her implants…and they still bug her by trapping food all too easily. Even her tech at the dental office (who does her cleanings) agrees with her that the space is so tight in Pam’s mouth that nobody can make floss work. Tricky, that.

    2. Overall, neither Pam nor I know how long she has left on this planet. Today, she and our part time hired hand are over at his place, the first property he’s ever actually owned (lease option at this point but the best deal I’ve ever seen), so she’s out and about. At the same time, however, her “time out of bed” on most days is not that extensive–a few hours here and there–and we (Pam and I) agree she’s moving into the “sweet” phase of her Alzheimer’s, which is where the person with the disease lets go of all the petty B.S. attitudes most of us humans sport on our sleeves. It’s a time when Soul really shines. It’s also the final phase before leaving the body. How long will that phase last for her? No way to tell. She’s been bucking her various disabilities for 18 years now and she’s still going, so I’m not about to bet against her until the final bell has rung. πŸ™‚

  86. Ghost, I’m sending my best to you and Pammie. Please let her know she is my hero, as I head into my full dental implant surgery this Wednesday. It’s that Pammie has been willing to share her story with us and you, Ghost, are one terrific writer. I feel like I’m now as ready as I can be for the procedure and dealing with its after effects.

    I’m spending the next couple of days enjoying “real” food, before going on several months of soup, smoothies, etc.

    Mike, you must be so happy with your new teeth and great smile. Yes, we’ll get together for coffee really soon and share our pics here on the board.

  87. James, I “fixed” a couple of typos for you. This software (WordPress) gives me the capability to edit comments–a power I’ve only used for Good, not Evil! πŸ˜€

    I’ll share your good wishes with my redhead in the a.m., and best wishes your direction for the procedure and adjustment period, too.

  88. Well… I’ve done it! Had my big procedure yesterday morning. Was there 12 hours. I was knocked out for 4 ours while they removed all my teeth… turns out the doctor put in 6 screws in my upper jaw (rather than the usual 4), then 4 on the bottom. For me, the worst part was when they affixed the bridges. The gums are so raw and tender, it just really hurts. But… they offered to give me local anesthesia and I took them up on it… then it was okay. I’ve been trying to conquer the pain by starting the pain mediction before it gets really bad. So far, pretty good. The teeth look great! Just looking forward to getting through these next few days as comfortably and smoothly as possible. Thanks, everybody!

  89. Way to go, James, and you’re most certainly welcome. Did they tell you why they decided you needed six screws in the upper? (If it was me, I’m betting the answer would be, “Because you have a big mouth!” But in your case, I’m not assuming anything. πŸ˜€ )

  90. Haha Ghost… well, I suppose some people have thought I have a big mouth… but in this case I think it’s because he teeth fit best into my upper jaw with six screws. I will say that both upper and lower are fitting very snugly.

    Still taking the heavy duty pain meds tody and then going to the less heavy ibuprofen tomorrow. The pain hasn’t been exactly fun, but it really hasn’t been that bad, either. It’s definitely been manageable so far. But I do have swollen chipmunk cheeks… that’s what hurts the most, if I touch them. I’m not too bruised at all, just a small one below my lower lip. I’ll check in again soon!

  91. Thanks, James. Good to know you’re progressing right along. We’re looking forward to your next update.

  92. Okay, Day 6 report! I have almost no complaints at all. There has been no agonizing pain whatsover. Mild to moderate, yes. There has been almost no bruising at all. Swelling is down to practically nothing. I am now off the heavy duty Hydrocodone painkillers and onto 800mg doses of ibuprofen. Mouth is healing more and more everyday. The only problem I’ve had is this (and it’s enough to have upset me):

    The dosage for the Hydrocodone was 1 to 2 pills every 4 to 6 hours. But a staff member at CC advised me to only take one at a time, as there could unpleasant side effects, including paranoia and nightmares. The day after the surgery I felt the pain starting to gain momentum, so I started take 2 pills at a time instead of one. That did the trick and I was fine… until my last dose of them on Saturday night. About 30 minutes after taking them, I had a weird “mental” episode. I became really aware of how snugly my upper implants were feeling against my gums, and suddenly had the urge to rip them out of my mouth and “free” my gums. More than that, I kind of freaked out at the idea that could not, nor ever remove them. It was a real panic attack and, while I was aware it was irrational (it’s not like you can just take your original teeth out to “free” your gums!), it lasted at least 10 minutes. I felt really trapped, helpless and scared.

    Finally, I went outside and calmed myself down. I am not one to ever experience “freak-out” episodes like this, over anything. I called my sister and we talked for 15 minutes, which helped. Thank goodness, that was the end of the hydrocodone and I haven’t had another problem like that. That said…

    I do feel like the upper implants are too tight. The way they fit is annoying and unsettling. No pain, but I’m constantly aware of too much pressure and, while I’m doing my best to ignore it, it ain’t easy. My lower implants fit perfectly. They’re snug but I’m hardly aware of them at all. I want my uppers to feel the same way.

    Sorry for the long rant, but this has been a setback. I know it’s not even a full week yet. My post-op appointment is a week from tomorrow and maybe the doctors can fix the problem, or perhaps the upper implants will be comfortable by then. I am so happy with my new smile, it looks fantastic. And my recovery has gone as smoothly as I could have expected. Did anyone else have an issue with the pills, or with implants fitting too tightly?

    Thanks for reading my long dissertation here!

  93. Thanks for the update, James.

    Pam’s implants do fit “too tightly” in one respect at least: She has to really watch what she eats, because some items produce particles small enough to jam in between implants and gum tissues…and yet the implant fit is too tight for even her hygienist to get dental floss in there.

    As for the pills, my wife’s been on Hydrocodone for chronic severe pain since before I met her 20 years ago, so whatever paranoid hallucinations she might have had were long since “ingrained” into her system. Considering the fact that she’s also mentally ill and a known paranoid schizophrenic…well, that pretty much leaves a “little thing” like a delusion or hallucination here and there up for grabs. Did this cause it, or that? (She’s gotten really skilled at knowing when she’s hallucinating and when she’s not, though!)

  94. Loved your entire report and photos!!……Thank you for taking the time to share so honestly and in detail the entire experience. It is incredibly helpful. By the way, how is Pam now?……I remember reading that she has Alzheimer’s. Is she doing okay?…..and how are you, too?…….again, thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  95. Thanks for commenting, Dawn; we’re always gratified to see evidence of this post helping someone. Pam is not exactly doing “okay” in that she has multiple health issues ( a LOT of them, including but certainly not limited to head-to-toe pain 24/7). Neither one of us is ever entirely sure just how much longer she can “hang in” on this planet. On the plus side, however, she’s one tough little cookie, doesn’t have a give-up bone in her entire body, and is still able to do a lot for herself–go to the bathroom, dress herself, feed herself if there’s no heavy lifting (like an iron skillet or some such), etc. And she continues to counsel others as the opportunity becomes available, usually with mighty sharp insights–which is downright awesome for someone with dementia.

  96. Hi. Fellow. Clear choice walnut. Creek. Sucess stories!!!!!!! I am one of. Those. Dr. “N”. And. Dr Morris are just. Wonderful. Professional. Caring and. Extremely more then sympathetic to pain issues, cleaning issues or. Anything that is bothering new recipients of your. Beautiful brand. New teeth and or any new dental issues. Believe me. I Know. I’m. One!!! I. Could not be more proud and happy with my new look and smile!!!! Itis such an. Honor and a privilege to. Not be afraid to open my mouth and smile proudly.!!!! I am. So happy with my new look and proud. Smile. It does get better and better as time goes on, if you have any issues just get back into see. Dr Morris. He stands by his. Work 100 % YOUR New look comfortable and professional beyond. Belief. All you have to know is let CC know and they will get you right in. Please just let them know . They are not mind. Readers. Any who. Just smile. And be proud and happy with with your new. Look and smile as I am. Any. Issues. Just get in there and see those wonderful. Doctors. They will. Make any adjustments as. Necessary!!! In. Walnut Creek. Just. Contact. Ms Jordan Sproul at 925 357-3900

  97. Great to hear from you again, Mike–and to hear that your implants continue to work so well for you. Awesome.

  98. Dear Ghost32,

    I cannot thank you enough for your very descriptive and most helpful diary of your “Redhead’s” experience with ClearChoice. I have lost quite a few teeth over the last years because of a hereditary condition as well as soft bones. Unlike osteoporosis, my bones agreed swans tight, but, as my surgeon described them, wet Sheetrock. Still, my oral surgeon stated I would be a candidate for implants, but I’ll be getting a second opinion.

    While I do have a high tolerance to pain, that doesn’t mean the pain doesn’t hurt, lol. It is good to know that this pain will be great so that I can psych myself up for it before surgery. Pain meds make me sick to my stomach and actually make my head hurt so I avoid them at all costs. Obviously, they will be needed for this procedure so I’ll work with the doctor to find the least ‘offensive’ drug for me. Knowing what to expect, well, thanks just doesn’t seem to be enough to offer! I hope you don’t mind, but I would very much like to keep you and Pam in my prayers. Your journey with her is both inspiring and heartbreaking. May God bless you and Pam!

  99. Thanks for commenting, Paula; it’s much appreciated. That oh so descriptive term, “wet sheetrock?” That…can’t be a whole lot of fun.. I’m glad to hear you’re getting a second opinion before committing to the procedure. Implant surgeons (Clear Choice or others) get paid extremely well for what they do, so it’s only sensible to ask oneself, “Am I completely certain this person’s judgment is not clouded in any way?” Hopefully not, but….

    I do know what you mean about needing to find the “least offensive” drug for your situation. Pam has many ailments and knows which meds work well for her and which ones don’t, but her personal body awareness is extraordinary (and she was a licensed pharmacist back in the day).

    For us, our journey together is mostly inspiring. Not so much heartbreaking. She’s grown personally and spiritually by leaps and bounds over the 20 years we’ve been together. Tough journey at times, sure, but she’s used every ounce of hurt to improve herself, and who can ask for more than that? As for keeping us in your prayers, I don’t mind as long as your prayers are not phrased in a way that asks God to do what you think He should do. “Thy will be done” is just fine. I’m a member of a non-Christian faith called Eckankar, the Religion of the Light and Sound of God, and we often use a prayer that says simply,

    “May the blessings be.”

  100. Hi Ghost and Pam… I read online:

    When you smoke, it affects your entire body, including your oral health. It may take longer for the healing phase to complete, or your body might not accept the implant at all. People who smoke are also more prone to getting infections when a dental implant is placed, which can cause it to fail. One of the latest studies tracked 165 people for five years. Smokers who received dental implants had a failure rate of nearly 16%, but non-smokers came in closer to 1%.

    Like Pam I smoke as well… A LOT… more so now then ever and I mean for like 3 months 2 packs a day… I’m 32… I have had more problems with my mouth in all 32 years then with anything else. All my teeth are rotting, I’ve lost a few and my jaw, neck, and face swells up and hurts pressure wise and sharp pain. I have been in and out of dentists my whole life. In fact the last one I went to told me I have mouth cancer to scare me out of smoking which didn’t and now I’m smoking even more because I’m stressed out about what to do. I also completely freaked out in full panic attack of shacky last time I was at the dentist to the point of a seizure.

    I have been agoraphobic for 14 years which is fear of the outside world, like I can’t even open the door and step outside without having a panic attack. Xanax seems to help but not much. I am so freaked out about dental implants specially after reading this amazing story… A. surgery all good it has to happen… sedate me even though the min I get blood work or see a needle I pass out, I have a weak stomach for blood (hello Ms. Scared of life over here). B. 2 hours waiting to go home only to be in more pain then when I went in? It almost feels better to keep the teeth I have now and forget about it. I can’t even make the appointment because the process of having to keep going in terrifies me. C. I have a low pain tolerance and the agoraphobia makes me snap at any given time… like having the whole procedure done alone makes me wanna hang myself instead of having to deal with the thoughts afterwards, the sleeping sitting up which will never happen sorry but I have a horrible back. I’am all in all a mess and sometimes feel some one should give me the Old Yeller end of life cycle right now.

    I been self medicating with old antibiotics though and taking any pain killer I can find to deal with what I have now. Unlike Pam… I will have 23 and 2 1/2s pulled and then have dental implants placed all in 1 day. I want to head bang the wall thinking about it. Like I may have horrible teeth now but their my teeth. Getting them all taken out and new teeth in is terrifying to say the least.

    But I would like to say… amazing story. I read through some of the reviews on https://www.clearchoice.com/ I would have my procedure done in the Scottsdale office in Desert Ridge. I’m 50% yes on the whole thing. Most people had commented with “oh I was able to bite into an apple the next day” which I found very hard to believe even watched youtube videos about how people could eat with no issues the next day… solid food. I mean ok maybe implants have advanced for 2016 and maybe it won’t hurt… but I am still undecided, and very scared.

  101. JoJo, if you weren’t scared I’d be concerned about your IQ. Anybody going in for implants SHOULD be scared. I remember back in my rodeo days–I was 15 years old at the time and admitted to an older cowboy in his forties at a mass tryout of new bareback broncs for a stock contractor that I was scared. Don’t know why; guess that man just inspired me to open up. And he said, “Kid, if you ain’t scared, you’re crazy.” That helped. A lot.

    Pam did quit smoking recently, but not in any way you’d ever want to try. She went into the hospital on October 25 with a major psychotic break, wound up being intubated and sedated on October 27, was Life Flighted from one hospital to another and eventually gotten off the breathing tube (though it took three times before they could keep it out due to her lungs continually failing. She was eventually shipped off to a hospice to die and that made her so mad, she was out of the hospice in 4 1/2 days and is now residing mostly in a mother in law apartment at her daughter’s in Utah. BUT SHE QUIT SMOKING!

    I don’t believe the “bite into an apple the next day” stories either. Never have.

    But I will say I DO firmly believe that getting rid of problem teeth is a GOOD thing. Both Pam and I had teeth that were poisoning us terribly, before we had them out. I’d never consider implants, but hello, guy over here doesn’t have to look pretty! (Mine have been out since 1992 and I do NOT wear dentures. Did for a little while, but not much after the first year or two.)

  102. Thanks for all the info on this because I usually self-heal. Stone -cold carnivore and sunflower seed addict. Lost my teeth because the hack dentist I went to failed (!) to tell me I was grinding my teeth. He actually accidentally broke half of one of my front teeth off the month before my daughter’s wedding. I used to have beautiful strong teeth. (I managed to nick one off the tray and all that was wrong with it was a chip off the top inside!) Enough said about that. grrr… I also have a genetic resistance to pain meds, (an ultra-rapid detoxifying enzyme) so I’m glad you mentioned that so I can warn them. I’m a retired police officer with a smashed lumbar spine; can’t heal without real meat. I just want to be able to eat a nice juicy very raw piece of steak with a bone (and fat) in it. Your blog convinced me to have this done; I’ll have to finance it but hopefully it will be worth it. Kudos to Pam, that took a lot of guts! Especially with the conditions she was dealing with. Hope all is well.

  103. Thanks for commenting, Sue, and also THANKS for your law enforcement service. Best of fortune with your procedure, and yes, all is well at this end–Pam is still alive and kicking, anyway, despite nearly checking out last November.

  104. Hi Ghost,
    I’m not sure what to say right now; I just didn’t want to be one of those people who visited your site without leaving a comment. I really appreciate that you and your wife were willing to make the effort to post a wholehearted experience for all of us who are struggling with a similar decision.
    I want this procedure more than just about anything, but the fact is I don’t think I’m going to be able to afford it. That’s what I was looking for when I found your post, was some real figures on the cost.

    I know I’m not the person I could be because of issues with my teeth my entire life. Having bad teeth is at the very heart of most of the problems I’m dealing with still today, mainly lack of confidence and low self-worth, and physical health. It would take too much space and too much of both our time to get into that!

    I’m very happy that Pam was finally able to get a decent set of teeth. I admire her courage and strength, and your support and love for her.

  105. Cindy, I truly appreciate the time you took to post your comment. A lifetime of bad teeth is hard on anyone’s health and often harder on the ego humans need to simply function on a day to day basis, more so for women than for men; I don’t envy your situation at all.

    As you mentioned, too, the cost of a full set of implants is often prohibitive. In Pam’s case, our finances hadn’t gotten strong enough until six months prior to her having the procedure. We couldn’t have gotten it done in any earlier year.

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