Dental implants have a long history, dating back to as early as 600 AD when the Egyptians and Mayans utilized basic versions made from elephant ivory or gemstones. In 1952, an orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered that titanium could successfully fuse with bone. This finding led to the modern era of dental implants, which are currently one of the most popular and effective options.
Today, implants are one of the most common procedures in dentistry, with millions of people around the world getting them every year. Here are some statistics on dental implants:
- According to the AAID, “over 3 million people in the United States have implants and an additional 500,000 people are added to this number annually.”
- The number of implant procedures performed yearly is increasing by about 10% annually.
- Over 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth.
If you are looking for the best dental implants in Boulder, CO, Louisville, CO, Lafayette, CO, Longmont, CO, or Broomfield, CO, call (303) 444-2255 to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons. We’ll help you get that smile you have always wanted!
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants act as tooth root substitutes. They are usually made of titanium (metal) or zirconia (non-metal). Titanium is a strong and biocompatible metal that bonds with bone over time to provide a solid foundation for artificial teeth. Zirconia is a ceramic material made of zirconium dioxide. Zirconia implants are ideal for people with metal allergies. Zirconia implants demonstrate biocompatibility, have good mechanical properties, and have a high success rate.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
There are many reasons why implants have become popular. They’re a very effective way to replace missing teeth, and they’re also quite durable, with a success rate of over 95%. Unlike conventional dentures, implants don’t rely on adjacent teeth for support.
Advantages of dental implants are:
- They look natural
- They improve speech
- Improved self-esteem
- Help with oral health
- They help to reduce wear on other teeth by dissipating chewing forces
Types of Implants
Endosteal (in the bone). This is the most commonly used type of implant. A titanium or zirconia post (implant) is placed directly into your jawbone.
Implants can be placed to support:
- A single crown
- A dental bridge
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you’re considering dental implants, it’s important that you get a thorough dental and medical check-up. It’s also important that you let us know about any medical issues, allergies, or medications you’re taking.
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. An adequate amount of bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and your gum tissue must be healthy enough to hold the implant in place. You must also maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for follow-up appointments.
If you smoke, you’re not automatically ineligible for dental implants. However, smoking significantly decreases the success rate of implants. Smoking is a major risk factor for implant failure. You’re much more likely to experience implant failure than someone who doesn’t smoke. If you’re considering implants, quitting smoking is the best way to ensure a successful outcome.
Dental Implant Consultation
During your initial consultation, x-rays and a CT scan may be taken to give us information regarding your jawbone structure and help us plan your dental implant procedure. The placement of the implants is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist (your dentist). Drs. Benjamin Foley and Thao Le will perform the tooth extractions, place bone grafting , and perform the implant surgery . Your dentist will make the temporary and permanent prostheses that go over the dental implant (such as crowns, bridges, and dentures).
Will I Need Anesthesia?
Most people undergoing dental implant surgery will need anesthesia. The type of anesthesia you receive will be determined based on several factors, including your overall health, the extent of your procedure, and your personal preferences.
Four different types of anesthesia can be used for dental implant surgery:
- Local Anesthesia – May be used alone or with sedation to “numb” teeth to be removed. Numbness may last up to 8 hours. All patients receive local anesthesia whether fully awake or sedated.
- Nitrous Oxide (“laughing gas”) – Provides light sedation. You are aware of your surroundings, and you will remember the procedure. Local anesthesia must always be used.
- I.V. Moderate Sedation – An IV line is started for administration of sedative drugs. You will be very relaxed but conscious. You may remember some aspects of the procedure. Most patients are comfortable with this level of anesthesia for most Clinic procedures.
- I.V. Deep Sedation – This is similar to moderate sedation except that you will not be conscious and will not have any significant recall for the surgery.
The type of anesthesia that’s right for you will be determined by your dental surgeon. Feel free to ask them any questions or concerns about what anesthesia is right for you.
Dental implant surgery is performed in two stages. During the first stage, the implant is placed in your jawbone. For three to six months, the implant is beneath the gums’ surface and gradually bonds to the jawbone. The second stage begins when the implant has completely bonded to the bone. Dr. Foley and Dr. Le will uncover the implant and attach a small post called an abutment that protrudes through the gum.
Recent advances in implant technology have made it possible to place implants in one single procedure, this method is called single-stage implants. When this method is used, a second procedure to uncover the implants is not needed. However, you must wait a minimum of twelve weeks to allow time to heal before the artificial tooth is placed.
Recovery and Aftercare
After implant surgery, you’ll need to take it easy for a few days while you recover. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. To help with swelling, you can apply ice packs to your face and keep your head elevated. Please refer to the After Placement of Dental Implants for more detailed instructions.
It is essential to keep your mouth clean after surgery. On the night of your surgery, you should brush and floss your teeth while being careful to avoid the surgical site. You will want to avoid brushing your teeth vigorously or using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Instead, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle circular motions when brushing. You will be prescribed a prescription mouth rinse and should use it after brushing and flossing beginning the night of your surgery. Use it twice daily until it’s finished.
The day after your surgery, you should rinse your mouth with a saltwater rinse. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and rinse your mouth 5-6 times a day and always after eating. Avoid alcohol-containing over-the-counter mouth rinses.
You can also mix peroxide and water (50/50), and use a Q-Tip to gently wipe the solution over the surgery side to keep plaque from accumulating on the sutures or teeth.
- Be careful if eating while you are numb
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Consume food that is soft in consistency
- Hot liquids
- Hot food
- Sharp food (chips and seeds)
- Acidic food
- Do not chew solid foods on the area where the surgery was performed
You should avoid physical activities for a few days after surgery, such as contact sports or strenuous exercise. Please refer to the After Placement of Dental Implants instructions for more information.
Risks of Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants have a 95% success rate, and the surgery to place the implants is generally very safe. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are known risks and complications of dental implant placement. Fortunately, the majority of the complications occur very infrequently.
Following surgery, a patient should expect to have some swelling, bruising, and mild to moderate discomfort. Some patients experience jaw joint (TMJ) and jaw muscle stiffness and pain, this improves with time. There is also a risk of infection, injury to adjacent teeth, implant failure, loss or alteration of nerve sensation to the teeth, lips, chin and/or tongue, sinus infection, bone loss, and jaw fracture.
We will discuss each of these complications with you further at your consultation and be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
The Best Dental Implants in Boulder
Your search for dental implants ends at Foley and Le. Our clinic and friendly staff will work closely with you from the initial consultation, through the procedure, and with your recovery and after-care to ensure you get the best results. You can trust that you’re in good hands with our team of highly skilled and experienced oral surgeons.
If you are looking for dental implants in Boulder, CO, Lafayette, CO, Broomfield, CO, Louisville, Co, and Longmont, CO, visit us today. We are located at 1420 28th Street, Suite 100, Boulder, CO. Call (303) 444-2255 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you!Call Us
Frequently Asked Questions
A properly cared for dental implant can last a lifetime.
People who are not good candidates for dental implants include those with autoimmune diseases, poorly-controlled diabetes, cancer, or previous organ transplants.
The surgery itself is not painful, as you will be given anesthesia. However, you may experience some pain and swelling after the surgery.
Yes, dental implants feel very natural. Most people can’t even tell the difference between an implant and a real tooth.
It’s never too late to get dental implants. However, a thorough examination of your oral health and jaw bone health will have to be performed before determining if you are a candidate.
Sedation options will be discussed with you at your consultation with the dental surgeon.
You should avoid carbonated drinks after dental implant surgery because they can interfere with the proper formation of a blood clot around the surgical site. This can directly affect healing of the implant.