What are Dental Implants ?

A dental implant is a small titanium fixture which acts like an artificial tooth root. When the implant is placed into the jaw, the bone surrounding it grows onto the surface of the implant as it heals.


This process takes several months to complete, and after this time the implant is considered to be ‘integrated’, and the bond between the implant and the bone is strong enough for the artificial tooth to be fixed to the implant.

Can you tell which tooth in this picture is actually a crown supported by a dental implant?

Comparing a natural tooth to a dental implant

Why replace missing teeth at all?

Tooth loss can significantly affect the function of your mouth (such as your ability to chew food) and also of course the appearance of your smile (by leaving unsightly dark gaps). These are two of the commonest reasons people will contact us to discuss treatment options to replace missing teeth with dental implants.


What you may be less aware of is the effect that tooth loss has on the structure of your mouth and remaining teeth.

Not replacing a missing tooth and leaving a gap


Simple is good, and this has to be the simplest option.  For many people, especially if a back tooth has been lost which is not visible when smiling or speaking, leaving a gap can feel like the right option.

There are potential risks to leaving a gap though. These may include;

  • Reduction in chewing ability due to missing teeth

  • Drifting of adjacent and opposing teeth into the gap, which places extra pressure when chewing potentially leading to tooth fracture.

  • Tooth movement can also mean the teeth are harder to keep clean.  This can potentially cause gum disease or decay.

  • Missing or broken teeth may cause increased pressure on the remaining teeth

  • Any current problems or concerns relating to the missing or broken teeth will continue

So what are the options ?

If you decide to seek treatment to replace a missing or failing tooth, you will always be fully informed by us which options are available to you. The most advisable options will be specific to you and your teeth, and what works best for one person may not even be possible in the next.

This is why a thorough examination with us first is required, so we can assess your situation and inform you of the most appropriate options.


Here are some traditional ways of replacing missing teeth, with a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each.




  • Completed in a few weeks

  • Unlikely to require surgery

  • Lower cost

  • Can easily replace multiple teeth

  • May be unstable

  • Sometimes cannot be tolerated

  • Accumulates plaque and food more readily

  • Does not prevent and may accelerate bone loss.

Fixed Bridge

  • Completed in a few visits

  • Unlikely to require surgery

  • Teeth are fixed and immobile

  • May require cutting healthy teeth leading to possible endodontic complications that require root canal work.

  • If compromised the entire bridge may need to be discarded and replaced.

  • May be difficult to remove plaque as floss will not pass between bridged teeth.

  • Moderate to higher cost.

  • Does not prevent bone loss.

  • Teeth are fixed and do not move.

  • No chance of further dental decay.

  • Does not require cutting into healthy teeth.

  • Well documented longevity

  • Reduces bone loss

  • Prolonged treatment time

  • Requires surgery

  • Higher cost

  • May be difficult to remove plaque as floss cannot always easily pass between teeth and implants

Implant Supported

If you are interested in discussing how dental implants could help you, call our reception team on 0161 439 2048 to book a consultation.

If you are interested in discussing how dental implants could help you, call our reception team on 0161 439 2048 to book a consultation.

Can implants replace my uncomfortable denture?

This is probably the most common reason people contact us for advice.  People have often already tried a denture to replace one or more (or even all) teeth, and unsurprisingly find them quite uncomfortable. Even the best made dentures will cover areas of the mouth such as the palate or the gums which make them feel bulky and intrusive.

They will also commonly affect clarity of speech and enjoyment of eating.

Furthermore, dentures which fit around natural remaining teeth are shown to significantly increase the risk of

gum disease and tooth decay. This is because they trap small particles of food underneath which will quickly cause

irritation of the surrounding tissues. Over time more teeth may even be lost as a result.


Dentures will also accelerate bone loss where they put pressure on the jaw beneath them. This is why they will

often quickly become loose, as the shape of the tissue they sit on quickly fails to match the shape of the inside of the denture.

So, whilst a denture is often the quickest and cheapest way to replace missing teeth, there are a few good reasons why you should contact us to discuss how dental implants may be a solution which is far healthier and more satisfactory

denture in glass.jpg

What situations can implants help with?

Implants are an extremely versatile form of treatment, and can help people who are missing a single tooth or those with no natural teeth at all.

For people looking to replace a full set of teeth, implants can be used to either permanently fix a set of teeth in the mouth (a full-arch bridge) or provide anchor point to stabilise a removable denture (an implant-supported overdenture). These options can be completely life-changing for people who have struggled to cope with loose uncomfortable conventional dentures.


How long do dental implants last?

Extensive research has shown dental implant treatment to be highly reliable and safe in suitably selected patients. Long-term benefits of implant treatment include;

  • Cost effective and long-lasting solution to tooth loss

  • Significant benefits in improving quality of life and well-being of patients

  • Prevention (or slowing) of bone loss and deterioration of the jaw bone support

Studies have also shown that implant complications can occur and some implants may fail. Long term success often depends on the management of a variety of risk factors that may be present in each individual person. These include a history of gum disease, tooth grinding, smoking, some medical conditions including uncontrolled diabetes, and patients should be fully aware of the effect of these risk factors.

Upper+lower Ao4 graphic.PNG

Is there a chance I can’t have dental implants?

People often think they might be too old for dental implants, but generally speaking this is not true and in fact most of the treatment we do is for people in their sixties or older whose teeth have failed due to a lifetime of fillings and natural wear and tear. We have successfully treated patients in their eighties and nineties and given them the life-changing benefit of once again being able
to eat food properly.

There are however a small number of reasons why it may not be possible or advisable to choose to proceed with implant treatment;


  • Treatment with intravenous bisphosphonate drugs

  • Previous radiotherapy to the head and neck area

  • The presence of active gum disease and/or poor oral hygiene

  • Uncontrolled alcohol or drug use

  • Uncontrolled psychiatric disorders

  • Recent heart attack (within six months) or heart surgery

  • Immunosuppresion, for example following organ transplant or systemic disease

  • Inability to maintain good plaque control

  • Infection associated with any adjacent teeth to the proposed implant site

  • Patients under 18 years of age


There are also some patients who may be in a higher category of risk for complications to develop, although these need to be assessed on an individual basis. Nevertheless there is still a very good implant survival rate in such people when properly selected. These factors include;

  • Poorly controlled diabetes

  • Oral bisphosphonate medications

  • Smoking

  • History of periodontal/gum disease

What does having dental implant treatment involve?

This will obviously vary from person to person, though typically the placement of implant is done under local anaesthetic.

  1. After numbing the area (just like as if you are having a filling) a small opening is made in the gum over where the implant is to be placed.

  2. A drill is used to create a small hole in the bone where the roots used to be. You may feel some vibrations at this stage but it is not unlike having a natural tooth prepared with a normal dental drill and should be completely painless. Several drills of different sizes may be used to create a hole of the desired size, and an x-ray may be taken during this part to check.

  3. The implant is gently placed by rotating it slowly and gently into the hole, and the fine thread on the outside of the implant means it fits snugly in the perfect position.

  4. On the day the implant is placed, a healing abutment may be placed which emerges slightly through the gum, or the gum may be closed with stiches completely over the implant whilst it heals.

  5. The implant then normally requires at least two months to heal until the next phase begins

  6. Once this time has passed, impressions are taken of the implant and of your natural teeth. These are then sent to the laboratory for the dental technician to make the porcelain tooth which will attach to the implant.

  7. Once the technician has returned the crown, we will see you to attach the crown to the implant (usually connecting the two with a small screw).


There are reasons that the approach for treatment may be slightly different to the above, for example if multiple implants are being placed or if additional procedures are required to increase the volume of available bone and gum.  These will however be discussed with you during your consultation to ensure you fully understand your treatment.


Introducing Implant Specialist James Stafford BDS MFDSRCS(Edin.) MSc(distinction)

We are delighted that James Stafford has joined the team at Arundel Dental.  He is an award-winning

dentist with practice limited to implant dentistry and oral surgery.

James gained his undergraduate BDS degree from the University of Sheffield, winning the prestigious national “Heraeus Kulzer” prize awarded by the British Society for the Study of Prosthetic Dentistry for work on the replacement of missing teeth.

Post-graduate training in implantology began in 2008 at the University of Warwick where he completed a Masters degree, achieving both distinction and also the prize for highest clinical and academic marks.

Further post-graduate studies have been undertaken at respected institutions such as Cardiff University, the Eastman Dental Institute, and the Malo Clinic in Lisbon. This extensive training has provided a solid background for advanced techniques such as autogenous bone grafting and sinus floor elevation, as well as graftless solutions such as the Nobel Biocare All-on-4 concept.


James also uses modern computer-aided digital concepts to improve diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment outcomes.

In addition to focusing on implant dentistry, James has spent several years in hospital based Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and has been accepting referrals for oral surgery in Cheshire for almost 10 years. He has performed over 1000 procedures using intravenous sedation, and several thousand more with local anaesthetic.

James acts on the GDC (General Dental Council) list of experts and advisors for oral surgery and implant dentistry, using his extensive experience to give opinions and advice to the regulatory body that governs the dental profession. He is also a mentor for students undertaking the post-graduate Masters Degree programme at Edge Hill University.

James says:
“I enjoy implant dentistry so much because it is evolving all the time. New techniques and materials are constantly being introduced to give the best and most predictable results, although successful outcomes have always been based on biological principals which will never change.

Being able to provide a wide range of surgical and restorative implant treatments and combining this with a current knowledge of research gives the best chance of the optimal solution being found for both the patient and the clinician.

I enjoy presenting current research through public speaking, and am always keen to share knowledge and experience through teaching and mentorship to other dentists with an interest in implant surgery.”

Case Study Gallery

If you are interested in discussing how dental implants could help you, call our reception team on 0161 439 2048 to book a consultation.