Dental implants are both a functional and cosmetic solution to missing, damaged, decayed or otherwise unsightly teeth. They are more widely available now than ever before.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a way of permanently replacing missing or unattractive teeth and restoring you with a natural and functional smile. It is possible to have single or multiple color-matched implants in order to fit in perfectly with your existing teeth. However, when a patient is looking at getting dental implants for purely cosmetic reasons, they replace all of their existing teeth for a whiter, brighter smile.
The components of a dental implant
Dental implants are comprised of three separate components – a post, an abutment and a crown.
The post. The post of a dental implant is made from bio-compatible titanium which is one of the reasons the procedure has such a high success rate (around 98%). Titanium is also incredibly strong and once the post is inserted into the jawbone, it forms an almost unbreakable anchor for the implant.
The abutment. This is a joint that secures the post to the crown.
The crown. The crown is the visible portion of the tooth. It is made from porcelain and can be created in varying shades of white.
Am I suitable candidate for dental implants?
Dental implant surgery is considered extremely safe and suitable for a large percentage of patients. However, in order to be eligible for the procedure you will need to have a consultation with Dr. Kyle Daniel who will assess your candidacy using a number of factors, including:
- Your medical and dental history.
- Imaging tests including x-ray or CT scan of your mouth, teeth and jawbone.
- The health of your teeth and gums.
- Your lifestyle, including whether you smoke. In general, smokers typically take much longer to heal and are at greater risk of complications.
If your candidacy is refused, the reasons will be outlined to you and Dr. Daniel will work with you to find an alternative solution to your dental requirements.
Benefits of dental implants
Dental implants are extremely popular due to the number of benefits that they offer which include:
- Permanence. Unlike dentures, once your dental implants are in place you will never need to remove them to eat, drink, clean or anything else.
- Discreet. Dental implants look, function and feel just like regular teeth. No one will ever know the different!
- Strong. The titanium-fused-to-bone anchor makes them ultra-strong, meaning there are no limits to what you can eat!
- Long-lasting. With proper care and attention, dental implants can last a lifetime.
What can I expect to happen during the dental implant procedure?
Dental implant surgery is an invasive procedure, which can make patients anxious or concerned. Local anaesthetic is always used, but if you are one of the 5-15% of the U.S. population that suffers from dental phobia, you should speak to Dr. Daniel ahead of the procedure to see if sedation is a possibility during your treatment.
Before you can begin your treatment, Dr. Daniel will need to ensure that any other dental work that you require is completed beforehand. You can then expect your dental implant surgery to take place in two stages.
The first stage of dental implant surgery involves placing the titanium posts at the pre-determined locations in your jawbone. These posts are left to fuse to your existing jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This will create an anchor which is part of what makes dental implants so secure. Osseointegration can take up to six months, but you will be fitted with temporary crowns during this time.
Once Dr. Daniel is satisfied that the posts have successfully fused to your jawbone, he will arrange to fix your permanent crowns in place. Each crown is color-matched to your existing teeth, so that the implants appear as discreet and natural as possible.
Recovery from dental implant surgery
After your implant surgery, your mouth will probably feel numb for several hours. If you have had a sedative or a general anaesthetic, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours. During this time, you should refrain from drinking any alcohol, driving or operating any machinery.
You can expect your mouth to be swollen and sore, so Dr. Daniel recommends eating soft foods for at least a week after your surgery. You can take some over-the-counter pain medications to help you deal with any discomfort, and you may also be prescribed antibiotics as well as an antiseptic mouthwash to help minimize your risk of infection. Always follow the directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist.
During your recovery period, you should still brush and floss your teeth as normal. Looking after your dental implants can ensure that they continue to look and feel amazing for years to come.
Dr. Kyle Daniel and his reassuring and knowledgeable team have extensive experience in providing high quality dental implant surgery and aftercare in the Boulder, CO area. If you would like to find out more about what dental implants can offer you and your smile, please make an appointment with our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.