If you’ve been researching tooth replacement solutions for one or more missing teeth, the chances are you’ll have come across dental implants. You’ll also likely have seen dental implants described as the best way to replace a missing tooth, but perhaps you’d like to know why they are considered this way.
Today, we’re answering the question, “Are dental implants like natural teeth?”
What is a dental implant?
To answer the question above, it makes sense first to learn what a dental implant is. A dental implant is a titanium replacement tooth root. These replace the root of a tooth that’s become compromised by problems like injury, tooth decay or advanced gum disease.
What happens during my dental implant consultation?
Your hour-long consultation appointment will be with principal dentist Dr Jonathan Cochrane, who will conduct an in-depth clinical assessment of your mouth. He will ask you about your lifestyle to ensure you are suitable for treatment.
You might be advised to quit smoking and make other lifestyle choices before treatment can go ahead. This ensures the risk of your body rejecting the implant remains low.
The density of your jawbone will be examined, as this is a critical factor in being suitable for dental implant treatment. Without enough healthy jawbone, implants won’t be able to integrate with your soft tissues and jawbone.
How do dental implants become like natural teeth?
Whilst it’s not possible to replace a tooth with another real tooth (dentistry hasn’t quite come that far yet!), dental implants are the closest substitute.
Dental implants are made of titanium, which does an incredible job at replicating the function of a tooth root. When your titanium implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, your jawbone cells grow up to the surface of the implant and secure themselves to it firmly. This is a process called osseointegration.
With this link between the jawbone and the implant in place, an important foundation is established. A couple of notable benefits brought about due to the osseointegration process include:
Aesthetics: Tooth replacement treatments that don’t replace the root of a tooth will cause some aesthetic changes to happen. This is because the jawbone realises it’s no longer needed at the site where a tooth has been lost and begins to shrink away. However, by replacing a lost tooth root with an implant, the jawbone will believe it is needed again. This prevents changes like lost volume in the cheek area and a protruding chin from occurring.
Stability: Once the osseointegration process has happened, it allows for a restoration like a crown, bridge or dentures to be screwed into place over the implant. With this stability established, you won’t have to worry about wobbly false teeth that might fall out when you eat or talk.
What if I’m already suffering from jawbone loss?
We see many patients with poor jawbone density. However, that doesn’t mean to say they can’t become a candidate for dental implants. In fact, patients who have only mild jawbone loss may be suitable for All-on-4 dental implants.
All-on-4 enables an entire set of permanent teeth to be secured using only four implants. This is possible as the implants placed at the back of the mouth sit at precise angles, increasing the surface area between the bone and the implant.
Identifying the correct place to insert your implants takes careful planning and skill. The more accurately your implants are placed, the better the outcome.
Our principal dentist Dr Jonathan Cochrane is a rising star in the field of dental implants. In 2018, he became the first British dentist to be awarded a Certificate in Implant Dentistry by the German Board of Oral Implantology (DGZI). He has a special interest in the field of implantology and takes great pride in restoring the smiles of his patients here in Bristol.
How do I become a good candidate for dental implants?
If you’re not suitable for implant retained dentures or All-on-4 implants due to insufficient jawbone density, there are procedures we can carry out to remedy this.
A bone graft procedure can:
- Restore bone to deficient areas in your jaw.
- Make dental implants possible.
- Enables your dentist to fill the gap left by a missing tooth – improving your oral health and bite function.
- Get your confidence back with a full smile.
Fortunately, encouraging the growth of new bone using a bone graft is a reasonably straightforward process. Your oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum to access the underlying bone. Following this, they will pack the area with bone grafting material (taken from the roof of your mouth or a donor) and stitch the incision back up.
It will take around three months to develop new bone. Once we are satisfied with the amount of new jawbone present and its density, we can move on with placing your implants.
As we have experienced oral surgeons at the practice who can carry out your bone graft, you won’t have to be referred elsewhere. We’re one of the few practices in the area that perform bone grafts, and we’re very happy to take referrals for such procedures.
Dental implants in Bristol
Contact us to book your dental implant consultation today.
Your consultation is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions about implants and any alternative treatments available to you. We will always inform you if there is a more suitable or lower-cost option for replacing missing teeth, such as a conventional bridge.
We offer 0% finance; click here to calculate your rate in as little as 2 minutes. We also offer FREE 30-minute appointments with our Treatment Coordinator, where you can:
- Tell us what you wish to achieve.
- Discuss your options.
- Ask us any questions.