Dental implants have revolutionised what it means to replace a missing tooth or teeth. And today, they’re incredibly versatile.
Dentists now have the freedom to combine implants with restorations like dentures and bridges to offer an outstanding degree of stability and comfort. If you’re looking to have a tooth replaced with a dental implant in Bristol, read on about the procedure involved here at The Bristol Dental Practice.
What is a dental implant?
You may have heard of dental implants, but you may not be familiar with exactly what they are.
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots made from titanium, which possess a high level of compatibility with the human jawbone. Implants trick the body into believing it’s receiving a real tooth root, triggering a process called osseointegration, in which the jawbone grows around the implant and accepts it as a new entity.
Once the osseointegration process is complete (usually between 3-6 months), the implant is ready to receive a restoration, AKA a tooth-like element such as a crown, dentures or bridge.
What makes dental implants so special?
Dentists consider dental implants to be the premium choice for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. In almost all situations, we recommend dental implants. However, we always inform patients when a more cost-effective alternative (such as a conventional bridge) is available – though this depends on the case’s specifics.
The fact that implants form a bond with your jawbone is paramount to their longevity and the degree of preservation they offer the jawbone. Removable treatments like dentures and bridges (which are not secured in place with implants) can’t protect the jawbone from shrinking away – this is known as resorption.
Every year jawbone resorption will continue to occur because there is no stimulation of the jawbone. This can be up to 25% of your jawbone ridge after a year of losing a tooth.
When patients wear conventional bridges and dentures, they can become ill-fitting because the shape of their mouth changes in response to jawbone loss. This can bring about dramatic changes to your face shape and structure, causing a protruding chin, sunken-looking cheeks, in addition to sore spots, pain and irritation. Meanwhile, your bite can also suffer, leading to headaches, jaw and neck pain, all of which can become impactful to your day-to-day life.
The good news is, dentures and bridges can now be secured in place using very few dental implants, making implant-based treatments more cost-effective for patients. Here at The Bristol Dental Practice, we offer the innovative All-on-4 dental implants procedure, which uses as few as four implants (as the name suggests) to hold a whole arch of teeth in place. Read more about All-on-4 dental implants in Bristol here.
What does the dental implant procedure entail?
Here’s an introduction to what you can expect from the dental implants journey:
Examination and assessment
The first step to any dental implants treatment with us here in Bristol is a thorough examination and assessment of your mouth, including the supporting structures like your bone, gums and tissues. Using some of the latest diagnostic technology, we analyse your mouth and establish your suitability for dental implants treatment. Then, we plan your treatment in a streamlined way that promotes a highly predictable outcome.
Should we find you don’t have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, don’t worry. Procedures like a bone graft or a sinus lift can be carried out to build up sufficient bone, whilst All-on-4 dental implants are suitable for patients who have minimal healthy bone to support implants. Thanks to the precise angles at which the implants are placed, patients who may have previously had implants treatment closed off to them can now benefit.
Surgical placement into the jawbone
Once the planning stages are complete, the implant(s) placement is the next step. This is done surgically and under local anaesthetic, and the recovery time will take around 3-6 months. During the recovery period, your body will accept the implant as a new and permanent part of your body. Whilst implants can be rejected; it’s extremely rare. Please read our blog about why implants can fail and how this can be avoided and treated.
Creating your new teeth
Over the top of every implant goes a restoration. As we mentioned above, this can be a crown, bridge or a set of dentures. At The Bristol Dental Practice, we take great pride in making completely bespoke restorations that correspond with your unique features, such as your smile and facial structure. Whilst your restoration is prepared in the dental lab, we will fit you with a temporary restoration, so you don’t have to endure having missing teeth during this period.
Placement of your restoration
The final step to the dental implants process is the fitting and placement of your new restoration. We will make sure your new teeth are an excellent fit for your mouth and bite. Depending on the type of restoration, this can be screwed permanently into place. Restorations like implant secured dentures can be easily removed, allowing you to brush and floss around the implants, even where significant bone loss is present.
Why dental implants?
- They protect the health of your jawbone
- You won’t sustain any facial changes as a result of jawbone loss
- They open up the freedom to eat a wider variety of foods
- The restoration placed over the top is not prone to slipping and sliding as you speak and chew
- They can be looked after as if they were a real tooth
- They feel and function like a real tooth
If you’re looking to have a dental implant fitted in Bristol, choose The Bristol Dental Practice and receive excellent standards of care in a state-of-the-art practice environment. Did you know we offer free dental implant consultations with our Treatment co-ordinator? Book yours today and set yourself on the path to a healthier smile and better confidence levels.
We look forward to seeing you at our friendly and welcoming dental practice here in Bristol.