Find the dental implants that are right for you.
The two most well-known options for replacing missing teeth are dentures and a traditional dental implant with a crown. Both have their pros and cons, but what if you could split the difference and get the best of both worlds? That’s precisely what All-on-4 dental implants are.
What are All-on-4 dental implants?
All-on-4 dental implants are sometimes called implant-supported dentures. In this technique, a full arch of teeth (all your upper teeth or all your lower teeth) is permanently placed using only four titanium implants.
A traditional dental implant has two parts: the implant itself and the crown on top. The implant is a titanium screw-like piece which we implant into your jawbone. Think of it as a replacement for the tooth’s roots. Then, we attach a crown that looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth.
With All-on-4 implants, a skilled oral surgeon places those four implants at precise angles and in specific areas to provide even pressure and support the entire arch.
All-on-4 Dental Implants vs. Traditional Dental Implants
A traditional dental implant is meant to replace one tooth, so for each tooth that’s missing, you have an implant and a crown. As you can imagine, if you were to replace an entire arch with traditional implants, it would be an extensive implant surgery. This might be right for you, but let’s take a look at an alternative.
With an All-on-4 implant, instead of one crown, you get an entire arch of teeth in one piece, like a denture. This is where the name “implant-supported denture” comes in. You receive a full arch of teeth with only four implants, making it a far easier and more efficient procedure.
What does an All-on-4 implant procedure involve?
What can you expect during your All-on-4 dental implant procedure? It starts with local anesthesia. While this procedure is a surgery, it’s minimally invasive so local anesthesia will allow you to stay comfortable without extended recovery time. Second, our oral surgeon will prepare your upper or lower arch area, making sure your gum tissue is healthy.
Third, it’s time to place the implants. We will surgically place the four implants into your jaw, implanting them at angles that allow your natural jawbone to support them well. Before we can place your permanent crown arch, your jawbone needs time to naturally bond with the titanium implants to secure them permanently in place. In the meantime, you’ll receive a set of temporary teeth.
When this bonding period is over, you’ll return to our office where we’ll place your permanent crown arch. This is typically several months after your initial implant procedure, but our team will determine a schedule with you based on your precise needs.
Keep in mind this is a typical All-on-4 procedure, but each patient is unique. Your experience could vary based on your oral health and your specific needs.
How does the All-on-4 implant procedure differ from the traditional implant procedure with a crown?
You know how the finished All-on-4 dental implants differ from finished traditional implants, but how is the procedure different?
The basics are the same: we place your implant and a temporary crown, and you return several months later for the permanent crown. The only difference is the timing is based on how many implants you will receive.
If you were getting all or most of an arch done with traditional implants, it would likely take a series of procedures. The All-on-4 approach is simpler and more streamlined for your convenience.
Pros and Cons of All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants can be a tremendous solution for people with extensive tooth loss. As with any procedure, though, there are pros and cons to keep in mind.
Pro: Usually No Bone Grafting
Many patients who receive dental implants have some degree of bone tissue loss in their jaw. This can come from oral health conditions or atrophy from using dentures for years. To secure a traditional implant in the precise area of a missing tooth, we sometimes need to graft new bone tissue in the area first.
With All-on-4 implants, however, we almost never need to perform bone grafting. The location where we place these implants for All-on-4 procedures has particularly strong, plentiful bone tissue that typically supports implants very well. This lets you skip the entire added step of bone grafting.
Con: Surgical Procedure
The idea of a surgical procedure is intimidating to many people, and dental implants do require one. However, because it’s a minimally invasive surgery, you don’t have to worry about general anesthesia. You’re awake and comfortable the entire time, and you won’t need extensive time off of work to recover.
Pro: Eliminating Common Denture Problems
All-on-4 dental implants are an alternative to traditional implants that will be a better fit for some people as guided by their dentist. But they are also a great alternative to dentures! These implants allow you to skip the many downsides of dentures, like jawbone loss from the atrophy of not using your jawbone the way you would with natural teeth or implants, the need to remove your dentures daily, the struggle of keeping them secure, and the frustration of getting food stuck beneath them. If you have osteoporosis, you likely have even more difficulties with your dentures.
Because All-on-4 dental implants are permanently secured into your jaw, they feel and function just like natural teeth.
Con: Potentially High Price
Cost is a factor with any medical procedure, especially a surgical one. The good news is there are options. Some dental insurance companies will provide money toward All-on-4 implants. If yours doesn’t, you may be able to negotiate with them. Because the implants are eliminating your need for dentures, ask them to contribute the amount they would otherwise pay for your dentures that year. There are also financing options for this and other dental procedures. They allow you to spread out your payments over time without waiting to get your procedure.
Starting the Road to Your All-on-4 Dental Implants
Every year, All-on-4 dental implants give people their smiles, their confidence, and their freedom from dentures back. To learn more or to find out whether you’re a good candidate, schedule a dental implant consultation with Gary E. Alhadef, DDS today.