For many people, getting dental implants to replace lost teeth is a breeze. They go to their dentist pretty soon after losing a tooth or two, arrange to get implants, sail through the consultation with an A1 health rating on their jawbone, glide through the short oral surgery, heal beautifully, get the crowns fitted and go back to normal living as if they never lost a tooth in the first place. For other people, it’s not so simple. Sometimes it’s even downright complicated, and that’s when patients find themselves being referred to Joe Bhat.
There are various specialist oral surgeons in the UK, and then there’s Joe Bhat. Over 300 UK dentists refer their patients to him for dental implant surgery, and Joe Bhat has carried out more than 6,000 dental implant surgeries, ranging from the simple one crown implant to far more complex procedures involving jawbones that have suffered deterioration.
The relationship between the jaw and implants
The jawbone is the one limiting factor in having dental implants. It has to be strong enough to sustain the pressures exerted by chewing, and healthy enough to integrate with the implant once it has been inserted. The integration between bone and implant is key to the success of the implant. If it does not mesh well with the bone it will become loose and even fall out. In a healthy jawbone, the titanium of the implant stimulates the bone tissue to build new bone and blood vessels all over the surface of the implant, holding it in place as securely as if it was a natural tooth root. This process is called osseoingration.
But jawbones start to dissolve themselves very quickly after a tooth falls out, and if this process of resorption has been underway for some time, the bone will have shrunk a lot and lost its all-important density. It would be like putting a metal screw into a piece of dry sponge and expecting it to stay in place. Bones can be brought back to life by inserting new bone material from elsewhere in the patient’s body, and this is the kind of work that Joe Bhat regularly carries out.