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Implant Dentistry

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A Modern Alternative to Traditional Dentures

The St Peter's Dental Practice offers an affordable, permanent solution to missing teeth, restoring your smile with dental implants.

A dental implant is essentially a substitute for a natural root and commonly it is screw or cylinder shaped. Crowns, bridges and dentures can all be attached to dental implant to give the most natural, secure and long term solution for the replacement for missing teeth. There are clear benefits to dental implant treatment: dental implants restorations resemble your natural teeth more closely than removable full or partial dentures, providing a solid, 'permanent' solution to missing or damaged teeth. In addition to restoring chewing and speech, the aesthetic result is often much improved. Overall, our dental implant patients are left feeling more confident, with an improved quality of life.

Dental implants serve as artificial 'tooth roots'. The earliest known example of dental implants dates back to the Mayan civilisation, where pieces of shell were inserted into the jaw bone. Although we are at the seaside we no longer use sea shell. Recent technological advances mean that dental implant treatment may be much more straightforward than you think. A dental implant is made of pure titanium. It is inserted into the bone where a tooth is missing. It is biocompatible with bone and integrates fully within it, creating an extremely strong bond. If you are missing one tooth, or many teeth, we can replace your teeth easily.

To determine whether dental implants can be placed, we will need to take x-rays. This will help us decide how much room we have to place the implant and we can then start planning your treatment. If the site has been without a tooth for years, we may find that there isn't enough room to house an implant. This is when something called a 'bone augmentation' is necessary. We will explain the procedure & implications to you before commencing any treatment. The benefits of dental implants are both functional and cosmetic. With our dental implants, your facial features will be restored, and your confidence will be back. You will have fixed teeth again.

Dental implant treatment will not be rushed here at The St Peter's Dental Practice. Implants placed are left to heal for a period of time. Delaying the loading of the implant ensures that the implant is fully integrated with the surrounding bone lowering the risk of failure.

We offer an extraordinary range of dental implant treatment options to suit each individual case.

High success rates of approximately 94 - 98% have been reported over a ten-year period for single tooth implants and groups of implants supporting individual implant crowns and bridges. The images show replacement of a single tooth, multiple teeth and anchorage for dentures. There are several advantages to this type of treatment:

  • We have been using dental implants routinely for 20 years.
  • Dental Implants have been used successfully for the treatment of patients with no teeth for more than 40 years.
  • Dental Implants may be used to support crowns to replace missing teeth.
  • Fixed bridges retained by multiple implants may be used to replace several missing teeth or all teeth.
  • Occasionally, a few implants may be used to stabilise a loose or uncomfortable denture.
  • Implants used to be thought of as a "last resort" treatment for people who could not get on with their dentures. We would now consider implant replacement to be the "standard of care" approach to replacing missing teeth, for nearly any situation.
  • An implant-retained crown has a similar appearance to a normal crown and appears to emerge through the gum naturally.
  • Replacing a missing tooth with an implant avoids having to place crowns on adjacent healthy teeth to support a bridge.
  • The presence of the implant will slow the change in shape of the bone and gum where teeth have been lost. Indeed, it is possible to improve the contour of the area by placing an implant.
  • It may be easier to keep an implant-retained crown or bridge clean than a tooth-supported bridge, which extends over several teeth. As a result, the adjacent teeth will lead a normal uncompromised life.

Bone grafting for implants

Patients who are in need of dental implant treatment but have jawbone shrinkage may initially need to undergo a bone augmentation to strengthen and build up the jawbone. A bone grafting technique is necessary to ensure that the dental implants have the best bone structure to fuse with. Jawbone loss may result from ageing, gum disease, missing teeth, lengthy denture wear or injury.

How will I know if I need a bone graft?

As part of your treatment plan your dentist will use X-rays or a computer tomography (CT) scan to take images of your jawbone, to see if it is thick and strong enough for dental implant treatment. If not you will require a bone graft before your dental implant procedure.

What different types of bone grafts exist?

There are four types of bone grafts: Autogenous grafts - use the patients own bone obtained from a nearby or alternative site to the area being used on; Allograft are from another human and have been treated to make them completely safe for transplantation; Xenografts are compatable animal bone which has been treated to make it completely safe for transplantation; Alloplastic grafts are synthetic calcium phosphate materials which are resorbable and replaced by the body's natural bone. The non-resorbable grafts remains as a supportive structure or scaffold.

What risks are involved in bone grafting procedures?

If not the patient's own bone the body may reject the bone graft, which is the main risk along with the usual surgery-related risks, such as the risk of infection. Discomfort may be felt during the healing and waiting period of three months or more before dental implant treatment.

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