All-on-4 dental implants are a remarkable technology and technique for replacing missing teeth. How do all-on-four dental implants work? To understand all-on-4s, it’s helpful to first understand how traditional implants work.
What Are All-On-4 Dental Implants?
Unlike traditional dentures which have been a common treatment option for centuries and must be adhered in place daily, a dental implant is a permanent solution to tooth loss. First, a small, high-quality titanium screw is fitted into your jawbone like a replacement root for a missing tooth. This requires minor surgery. Once the titanium implant is in place, a crown is attached that looks like a real tooth and functions like one, too.
All-on-4s take the dental implant procedure up a notch. Instead of an implant treatment that treats tooth loss individually, all-on-4s are a solution for all of your missing teeth. For a full set of teeth, all you need are eight well-placed titanium implants — four on the bottom for your lower teeth and four on the top for your upper teeth. Then a full arch dental prosthesis (also called a multi-unit abutment or MUA) is attached that can mimic your natural teeth.
Remarkably, because all-on-fours are made of titanium, which fuses to living bone without any need for bone grafting, all-on-4 dental implants actually become part of your jawbone. This process is called osseointegration, and it’s what makes all-on-4 dental implants such an excellent alternative to removable dentures.
Get a radiant, new smile the same day of surgery
Our dentists’ expertise — in everything from x-rays to help determine oral health needs to CT scan interpretation and implant placement — combined with the all-on-four procedure generates a high success rate and satisfaction for all our patients.
All-on-4 Implants Benefits Compared to Dentures
Dental implants help to preserve the bone in your jaw, which encourages it to stay strong due to the stimulation that happens when chewing. Using dentures as replacement teeth will actually accelerate bone loss and jaw weakening. Because dentures just sit on top of gums, they don’t actually provide any stimulation for your jawbone, which will lead to bone loss over time.
Because your teeth are supported by solid titanium implants, rather than gum tissue, you won’t experience contact sores, friction marks, or other gum trouble.
Because dentures limit the types of food you can eat (anything too hard or crunchy could break dentures), and, because dentures also cover your palate reducing what you can taste of what you are able to eat, dental implants make eating a more enjoyable and variable experience.
One of the nicest benefits of all-on-4s is that they don’t move when you speak or eat like dentures can. The stability of implants can save you worry and embarrassment. They also tend to help out with spitting and/or speech concerns.
Tooth loss and bone loss can change your face’s appearance, because bone that is meant to support it, is missing. All-on-4s replace the original height that once existed between your upper and lower jaws giving your lips and cheeks a more full look.
Teeth in a day and no more applications.
Because implants permanently affix your teeth, you no longer have to buy or deal with hard-to-use and expensive adhesives.
Who is a Good Candidate for All-on-4 Dental Implants?
There are many different types of patients who are good candidates for All-On-4 dental implants. You may be a good candidate for All-On-4 if you’ve lost most or all of your teeth, or if you need to have all of your teeth removed. Patients with a healthy jawbone structure are generally good candidates because it allows the implants to adhere well, but those who have experienced some bone loss may still be good candidates. It’s always best to have a consultation so your dentist can determine if your jawbone structure is adequate.
All-On-4 implants are the most cost-effective way to replace the entire upper or lower rows of your teeth, so they are usually the best choice for patients who are on a budget. Also, since they require less surgery than getting implants done one or a few at a time, you’re a good candidate if you are anxious about dental surgery.
How Long Does It Take to Heal After The Procedure?
Healing after the All-on-4 procedure is similar to other dental surgeries, where rest is a critical part of the recovery process. By focusing on rest, you’ll help the jawbone and gum tissue heal immediately after surgery, which is crucial. You’ll want to avoid any strenuous physical activity until you’ve been cleared by your surgeon.
For the first several days, there will be some comfort, but we provide our patients with pain medication to make sure it is not a challenging time. In addition to the gums healing, your bone will also be healing, which takes longer than tissue to get back to normal. We will guide you through the process, such as what foods are good to eat during the first few months as healing takes place. You’ll be given a full list of instructions and we’ll answer all of your questions both before and after the surgery.
How Long Do All-on-4 Implants Last?
All-on-4 dental implants are meant to be a long-lasting, permanent dental solution. With proper care, they can last 20 years or longer. As mentioned above, at 10 years they have a success rate above 94%.
The long-term implant-related success rate after 18 years is more than 91 percent, as found in a longitudinal study, so with proper care the implants can last a lifetime.
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