All-on-4 dental implants are used to hold an entire arch of teeth. The implants are typically made of titanium and surgically placed into the jawbone. Once the implants have healed, they can be used to support a denture with false teeth.
While dental implants are considered the gold standard in tooth replacement, many patients are concerned about the treatment length. But, how long does the All-on-4 procedure take?
The term “all-on-4” describes a treatment modality where essentially a denture fused with titanium bar is immediately loaded onto the implants after surgery. This is a trademark to the Nobel Biocare implant system. Although at Balmoral Dental Centre we can provide exactly the same service, as the term is a trademark, we can’t call it that.
The answer is that it varies. The standard All-on-4 dental implant procedure usually takes around two hours to complete. However, every patient is different. The time required depends on several factors, including additional treatments and whether you need a single arch or both arches replaced.
Learn about the different stages of the All-on-4 dental implant procedure and potential complications that may extend the length of treatment.
How Long Does Full Arch Implants Procedure Take: The Stages of Full Arch Implants
Dental implants are typically placed in stages. This ensures adequate time between surgeries for the wound site to heal and for the bone to fuse to the titanium posts. The All-on-4 dental implant procedure typically consists of the following main stages:
Consultation to Plan Treatment
The consultation phase is vital to ensure you receive the best care possible.
During this phase, your dentist takes a comprehensive medical history, including asking about any allergies or medical conditions that could impact treatment. They also perform a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. .
This evaluation helps the dentist to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Your dentist also takes X-rays or a 3D scan of your mouth to check for infections and determine your jawbone density.
Once the evaluation is complete, your dentist will discuss several recommended treatment options to help prepare your mouth for All-on-four dental implants
Hygiene and Mouth Preparation
Hygiene and mouth preparation is the next phase of All-on-4 dental implants. Good oral hygiene is essential for successful implant surgery, and this phase involves thoroughly cleaning the teeth and gums to remove all plaque and tartar.
During this phase, you may also need additional surgeries and treatments to increase the chance of successful implantation. Because only four implants are used, and they are embedded at an angle, many patients do not need bone grafting or sinus lifting surgeries to improve jaw health for All-on-four dental implants.
However, you may need gum flap surgery or a gum graft to restore the soft tissue that helps anchor the implants. Click this link to learn more.
Bite and Aesthetic Planning
During this phase, your dentist takes a series of measurements to determine the best placement for the implants. They create a model of your mouth so they can plan the perfect smile for you. This phase usually takes around two hours.
Your dentist considers many factors when planning your implants, including the size and shape of your teeth, your bite, and smile cosmetics.
These factors can ensure that your implants are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Your dentist also makes a set of temporary dentures for you. These dentures help determine the size and proportion of your teeth and where they should be positioned for a good fit and natural-looking aesthetic.
You will also wear these dentures while waiting for your implants to heal during recovery.
Full Arch Implants Surgery
The All-on-4 dental implant procedure is a minimally invasive process. Your dentist can place the posts and fit the prosthesis in as little as one day. Each implant post takes approximately one hour to place.
The dental implant procedure involves placing four titanium implants into the jawbone, anchoring an entire upper or lower denture. The implants are placed in the jawbone using drill guide templates, which help to ensure that the implants are placed in the correct position. The posts are often angled to increase stability and reduce bone tension.
Once the implants have been placed, your dentist attaches a metal bar to the implants, serving as a base for the dentures.
The recovery time for the surgery is typically short. Most people can return to their normal activities within three days. However, it is crucial to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the implants for at least six weeks while they heal and become firmly embedded in the jawbone. After that, you should be able to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
Placing the Restoration
Once the implants are placed, you will need to wait for them to heal and integrate with the bone before the restoration can be placed. The All-on-4 restoration is then placed on the implants and screwed into place.
Recovery from the restoration procedure usually takes several months. You may experience some swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort during this time.
Full Arch Implants Maintenance
All-on-four dental implants are considered to be a permanent solution for tooth loss.
However, they still require proper maintenance to function properly and last a long time. Brushing and flossing your teeth, even if you have
All-on-four dental implants, is essential. Plaque can build up around the implants and cause gum disease.
It is also important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can help identify potential problems with your implants and ensure they still function correctly. With proper care, All-on-4 dental implants can last for many years.
How Long Does Full Arch Implants Procedure Take: Benefits Of Full Arch Implants
All-on-4 dental implants offer several benefits over traditional dental implants, like:
- All-on-four dental implants require less bone material, which means that they can be performed on patients who are not good candidates for traditional dental implant procedure due to significant bone resorption.
- All-on-four dental implant surgery is less expensive than a traditional full mouth reconstruction with single-unit implants and crowns.
- All-on-four dental implant surgery offers a quicker and easier recovery than traditional dental implants.
How Long Does Full Arch Implants Procedure Take: Complications That Can Prolong Healing
All-on-4 dental implants are considered safe and reliable, but there are some potential risks and complications that can occur:
One common complication associated with All-on-four dental implants is infection. This can happen at the site of the implant, or it may be a more general infection that affects the entire mouth.
Infection is a more serious concern in patients with diabetes or other medical conditions compromising the immune system. In some cases, infected tissue may need to be removed to allow the implant to heal properly.
- Nerve Damage
Damage can happen if the implant injures or presses on a nearby nerve. Nerve damage may cause tingling, numbness, or pain in the affected area. In severe cases, it may lead to muscle weakness or paralysis.
If nerve damage occurs, it is often temporary and resolves within a few months. However, in rare cases, it may be permanent. Patients who smoke or have osteoporosis are at increased risk for nerve damage.
Sometimes, All-on-four dental implants can fail to fuse to the jawbone (a process called osseointegration). This can happen if the implants are not placed properly, if there is an infection at the site of the implant, or if the patient does not follow instructions for postoperative care. If osseointegration does not occur, the implants must be removed and replaced.
- Soreness and Swelling
It is normal to experience some soreness and swelling in the jaw after the All-on-4 procedure. This can be managed with anti-inflammatory OTC pain medication such as ibuprofen. Your dentist may also recommend ice packs to help reduce swelling.
However, if the swelling doesn’t subside after a week, it may indicate that the implant site has become infected. Contact your dentist immediately if the swelling is accompanied by fever or pus around the implant.
- Hot and Cold Sensitivity
You may also notice increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This is because your gums will be healing around the dental implants. To help reduce sensitivity, avoid consuming hot or cold foods and drinks for at least 24 hours after the procedure. After that, you can slowly introduce these items back into your diet.
How Long Does Full Arch Implants Procedure Take: How Long Do Full Arch Implants Last?
Research demonstrates that All-on-4 implants have a 10-year success rate of 94.8%. However, the lifespan of All-on-4 implants can vary depending on how well they are cared for.
Proper oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and avoiding habits like smoking and grinding your teeth can help prolong your implants’ life. Proper oral hygiene is essential, as plaque and tartar can build up around the implant and cause irritation or inflammation.
Smoking and grinding your teeth can also stress the implant and speed up bone loss, so avoiding these habits is essential.
Get a Free Consultation at Your Local Dental Clinic
Looking for a dentist that offers free consultation? At Balmoral Dental Centre, we provide free dental consultations to help you determine which treatment options are suitable for you.
We offer a wide range of dental services and work with you to find a treatment plan that fits your budget. Schedule a free dental consultation near you today to find out what Balmoral Dental Centre can do for you.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Factors Affecting the Survival Rate of Dental Implants: A Retrospective Study
Osseointegration: An Update