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Dental Implants – Step by Step

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A dental implant is a permanent tooth restoration that could last for your entire life. Unlike dentures, which could slide around in your mouth, dental implants are placed directly in your jaw. This allows an implant to look and function much like the natural tooth it replaces. If you’re considering dental implants, here is some more information on what you can expect from the entire process.

Step 1: assessing and preparing the dental implant site

Because dental implants fuse into your jawbone, your dentist will check the condition of the bone site and make sure there’s enough bone density to hold the implant securely. Your dentist will also use x-rays to check for nearby blood vessels and nerves.

Some treatments require the patient to undergo a special 3D scan of the area called a CT scan, this is very helpful when planning for an implant. 

For a few patients, implants are not a viable option and your dentist will suggest alternative solutions.

Some patients require a process of bone-grafting or bone regeneration to improve the amount of healthy bone to accommodate the implant securely. In most cases a graft is placed at the time the tooth that is to be replaced has been extracted, this is done to preserve the site for the coming implant. At times, this is required after a tooth has been missing for an extended period of time and some bone loss has occurred. There are different types of bone graft materials that can be placed and this will be discussed with you prior to your procedure. After placement, the bone graft will need time to heal before the implant is placed.

This is the stage to ask questions, voice any concerns about the process, and discuss your finance options. Your dentist will explain your treatment plan to you, with the reservation that during the course of the treatment alterations to the plan may be necessary.

Step 2: positioning the implant

Your dentist will anaesthetise the implant site before removing gum tissue to expose the bone underneath. Initially, a pilot hole is drilled and an alignment pin inserted to make sure the angle and position will properly accommodate the dental implant screw.

Once the dentist approves the alignment, a series of increasingly larger drills widen the hole to the correct size. Drilling will be slow, and the implant site will be flushed regularly, with either water or saline solution, to protect the bone tissue from any heat damage.

Step 3: placing the implant

Because the implant is screwed into the bone, a special instrument may be used to create a ‘thread’ in the jaw-bone to match the thread of the implant. Some implants are self-threading, which means they create their own thread as the implant is inserted.

Once the implant screw is placed, an implant cap seals the surgical site from the rest of the mouth. It is important to protect the site so the gum heals around the implant safely.  Healing times vary depending on the position of the implant site and the technique used to access the bone. Any stitches used to hold the gum around the implant cap are usually removed ten days to two weeks later. Over the counter pain relievers are usually enough to manage any discomfort that you may experience during the first few days after the procedure. Usually the implant only receives its final prosthetic tooth after several months, however, because the bone and the implant must fuse together securely, during a process called osseointegration. Allowing sufficient recovery time before placing the crown ensures pressure and movement do not disrupt the healing of the new implant.

Step 4: creating your new tooth

First, the dentist removes the temporary implant cap and attaches an abutment to the top of the implanted post. Then, depending on whether you’re replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth, either a crown or bridge will be fixed to the abutment(s). We work with skilled dental technicians to match the crown or bridge to the colour, shape and size of your natural teeth. The fitting time for this important dental implant step depends on the complexity of your treatment plan. After all, this is the part that other people will see, so it needs to look perfect as well as feel comfortable.

Structure of a dental implant

Step 5: keeping your implant healthy

The final maintenance stage is probably the most important to ensure the longevity of the implant. Your dentist will explain how to care for your implant, and schedule future appointments to monitor your oral health regularly. Although dental implants are artificial teeth and don’t decay like natural teeth, it is important to guard against gum disease. After going through the dental implant stages, the anticipation and investment, you’ll want your implanted teeth to last.

Yes, these dental implant steps are worth it!

Dental implants are the most functional and aesthetic way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. More and more patients are benefitting from advantages of dental implants:

  • Although more expensive compared to dentures or bridges, our patients say implants are worth the investment in the long run.
  • Modern innovation ensures the procedure is safer, more effective and less difficult than in the past.
  • In form and function, implants are closer to real teeth than any alternative replacement.
  • Dental implants can either replace a single missing tooth, or anchor a bridge to replace multiple missing teeth.
  • Because implants integrate with your jawbone, with good care they will last longer than traditional dentures.
  • Once completed, with good care dental implants are no more trouble than regular teeth.

Eat, talk, laugh and kiss without discomfort or embarrassment.

Dental implants are a reliable, long-lasting solution for missing teeth which bring a range of benefits.

If you would like to find out more about the costs of the procedure, or why we recommend implants as a first choice solution for missing teeth, please contact us today for a no-obligation discussion.

Beautiful older woman smiles at the camera - Live your life to the full with dental implants from Oakwood Dental Practice - serving the people of Botley, Hedge End, Bishops Waltham, Winchester and the wider Hampshire community

Restore your smile with dental implants in Hampshire

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Dental implants can make a dramatic change to people’s everyday lives, proving to be an extremely popular option for those with missing teeth but there is a lot to consider before committing to such a life-changing treatment. Below are some frequently asked questions about dental implants that our Botley implant dentist Hennie Müller provides to patients at Oakwood Dental Practice:

What are dental implants?

Dental Implants are without question the modern way to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are made from titanium ‘replacement roots’ which are used to anchor new teeth. This can be a single tooth, maybe lost through an accident or infection, several teeth, which may have been lost over a number of years for various reasons or a whole set of teeth, maybe lost through the effects of gum disease or neglect.

A crown is placed on top of the implant to create the aesthetic appearance of a real tooth. Implants can be fitted anywhere in the mouth so can be used to replace front, back or multiple teeth. Once the implant is fitted, it can last a lifetime if looked after carefully and patients can eat, chew and smile again as normal.

Are dental implants safe?

Implants are a safe, well-established treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them. How well you look after your implants and whether you attend your regular maintenance appointments will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.

If you don’t look after your implants, they will develop a bacterial coating similar to what is found on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.

If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.

Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?

There are very few situations where implants cannot be used. If you are healthy enough to have routine dental care, then, generally you are suitable for implants. Hennie, Oakwood Dental Practice’s implant dentist, will carefully check your medical history and suitability for dental implants, and discuss your individual needs at your consultation appointment.

There is no longer any need to be embarrassed about that missing tooth or ‘wobbly denture’, dental implants can certainly help re-build your confidence and restore your smile.

Is it expensive?

Dental implants vary quite significantly in cost depending on the number you need. The typical cost of quality dental implants from a reputable practice can be anything from £2,500 to £30,000. Dental implants should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense, it’s not just about the upfront cost, but also about weighing up the continuing benefits, both health-wise and financially.  They can prevent you from having to spend large amounts of money on ongoing dental maintenance caused by the impact of a missing tooth and they also significantly improve your quality of life.

Do I need to take time off work?

Whilst you might need to make time for appointments before and after the treatment, the actual placing of a titanium implant takes just a few hours. If you are having multiple implants, the process may take longer, but with proper planning, it can be done in a day.

Once the implant procedure is complete, you can return to work the very next day. After you have had time to heal following the initial procedure, you’ll be called back in a few months later to complete the final few steps and then for an aftercare appointment to review your healing progress. These appointments will ideally be fitted around your free time, causing minimal disruption to your busy work schedule.

Are there alternatives to dental implants?

Alternative dental procedures like dentures can provide a quick solution to missing teeth, but in the long term can cause more damage than good. They can actually increase deterioration in the jaw bone and the remaining healthy gum.

With a dental implant, you no longer have to worry about these factors. Implants look much more natural, and most importantly feel more comfortable and secure. It’s a bit like going from wearing daily disposable contact lenses to having an eye-correction procedure and never having to think about wearing glasses again.

Don’t let your concerns stand in the way of simply getting the right advice, come and see Hennie for an informal and informative chat. He will explain clearly and honestly how the treatment could benefit you. Contact us now for more information or to book an appointment.

A new year, a new you!

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Every year we make promises to ourselves, says principal dentist Grethe Louw from Oakwood Dental Practice in Southampton. Whether we want to get fit, start a new hobby or have a change of career, we look to the future with optimism.

Facial aesthetic treatments, Invisalign clear teeth straightening, tooth whitening and implants for replacing missing teeth or anchoring dentures, can help you look as great as you feel on the inside. Treat yourself (or someone else) to a new look for a new year.

Facial Aesthetic Treatments

Christmas and New Year are often a busy time with family visits, events, catching up with friends and lots of parties – so now is the perfect time to consider facial aesthetic treatments!

Anti-Wrinkle Injections (Azzalure) – Can be used to treat frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead and other facial lines. Reduce winkles with bespoke treatments from our talented Botley dentists and we can target the areas you want to treat.

Dermal Fillers (Restylane) – Can be used to add volume to your lips, cheeks, nose to mouth lines, skin laxity and chin. Dermal fillers replace the hyaluronic acid in your skin, which is responsible for making it appear plump and youthful. When we are young we have this in abundance and this is why our skin has volume and elasticity. The ageing process causes the stocks to deplete and dermal fillers work by temporarily replacing them. Subsequent treatments will prolong the previous treatments that you have had.

Felc Nano Plasma (PLEXR)

Before Oakwood Dental Practice's principal dentist Grethe Louw carried out Felc Nano Plasma (PLEXR)

Before Oakwood Dental Practice’s principal dentist Grethe Louw carried out Felc Nano Plasma (PLEXR)

After Oakwood Dental Practice's principal dentist Grethe Louw carried out Felc Nano Plasma (PLEXR)

The stunning results after Felc Nano Plasma (PLEXR) carried out by Oakwood Dental Practice’s principal dentist Grethe Louw in Southampton









We are so excited this new addition to our facial aesthetics treatments! FELC uses the fourth state of matter: Plasma. Using a plasma beam, excess skin tissue is removed without damage to the underlying skin. As you can see from the before and after photos above, the results are truly amazing!


  • Blepharoplasty (saggy/hooded eyelid skin lift/ remodelling).
  • Removal of excess skin.
  • Acne treatment
  • Removal of fibromas, skin tags, and moles
  • Correction of scars from acne etc

Make an appointment to pop in and have a chat with Grethe about how our different facial aesthetic procedures can help you feel great in your own skin. Click here to make an appointment.