Tooth decay has been found to be the most prevalent chronic health disease in Australia, with 90% of adults having caries, and 15% having missing teeth. Dental implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. All on 4 dental implants allow patients who are missing a full arch of teeth the opportunity to replace all of them permanently, using only four tooth implants. In this article, we are going to answer the question ‘what is all on 4 dental implants’ and explain how they present a long-term solution for missing teeth.
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.
Why Are So Many Patients Missing Teeth?
There are multiple reasons for missing teeth, ranging from accidents and oral health problems to tooth decay. Without a full set of teeth, patients cannot chew and eat comfortably, speak clearly, and smile with confidence.
Not only are teeth important for chewing food, but they also play an integral role in the aesthetics of your face. Replacing missing teeth is essential for general health and wellness as well as self-confidence and quality of life.
All on 4 dental implants offer an exciting and revolutionary way to address this problem for patients of all ages. If you are missing an entire arch of teeth and get a free consultation at your local dental clinic, the dentist will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for the procedure.
How Do Full Arch Implants Compare To Other Dental Restorations?
Dental restorations like bridges and dentures sit on top of the gum tissue and present several challenges for patients.
Common challenges experienced by denture wearers
- Patients who wear dentures find it difficult to make the transition to wearing them because they can be uncomfortable and cause irritation to the gums
- Their position on top of the gums means that it is possible for food and debris to get trapped between the gum and the prosthesis
- Because they are not part of the mouth structure, some patients find their mouths feel too full with dentures
- Patients who start wearing dentures say that it takes time to get used to speaking clearly with them in
- Some patients find it difficult to eat certain foods or need to restrict their diet in order to chew properly
Problems Associated With Dental Bridges
Patients who have dental bridges need to have the adjacent teeth prepared to accommodate the bridge. This means that healthy teeth are compromised and weakened in order to fit a bridge
If the bridge and crown are not fixed in place properly, the underlying tooth structure is at risk of decay, if bacteria and plaque can access it.
Ultimately both dentures and dental bridges cannot prevent bone loss because they sit above the gum line. This is not ideal for long-term dental health because it can cause changes to the shape of the underlying jaw. The only solution to prevent bone loss is a dental implant because it replaces missing tooth roots. Natural teeth put pressure on the jaw, stimulating its growth and increasing the density of the jaw bone.
However, if you are missing a full arch of teeth, placing a single dental implant for each missing tooth is a time-consuming and costly procedure. All on 4 dental implants present a practical solution to this problem.
How Do Full Arch Implants Work?
In the all on 4 dental implants procedure, the dental implants are anchored surgically into the jaw, replacing missing tooth roots and stimulating the jaw bone.
The dental implant is integrated with the jaw, resulting in a solid and stable base for artificial teeth. This means that patients can bite and chew with the same force as their natural teeth and do not have to place any restrictions on their diet.
With all on 4 dental implants, two implants are placed at the front of the jaw and two at the back. This helps your dentist to avoid parts of the jaw that may be of lower quality and less suitable for dental implant placement. For many patients, this procedure can help to avoid the need for bone graft surgery. Bone grafting typically makes a dental implant procedure take longer, become more expensive, and can add another element of risk.
The Benefits Of Full Arch Implants
During the procedure, the dental implants are placed at a 45-degree angle and tilted so they can provide support for the full arch of missing teeth. In addition to provisioning a stable and secure base for the placement of artificial teeth, tilting the implants also circumnavigates the problem of inadequate jawbone, which may be present in patients who have been missing teeth for some time.
Using fewer implants also lowers the risk of complications. It simplifies the procedure and makes cleaning and maintenance much easier for the patient and their attending dental practitioner.
Tooth implants are made from titanium, which is a biocompatible material. It is simultaneously strong and lightweight, making it an excellent choice for replacing teeth. Once the tooth implants have fused with your jaw, they become a permanent part of it.
What Is Full Arch Implants: What To Expect From The Procedure
Your journey to replace an arch of missing teeth starts with a comprehensive dental examination. Our dentist will perform a physical examination and take some photographs and x-rays of your jaw and teeth.
You can expect to answer some questions about your medical history, any chronic diseases you may have, and your lifestyle. In order to be a candidate for dental implant surgery, you should be free of gum disease and be a non-smoker with good oral hygiene habits. If there are any concerns about your dental health, these will need to be resolved before you have dental implant treatment.
If you are a candidate for dental implant surgery, your dental practitioner will schedule an appointment for you to have the procedure.
Preparing For Implant Surgery
Your dental practitioner will need to take measurements to plan your treatment. This is necessary to determine the position of the implants and to ensure that your artificial teeth are made to measure. Your dentist will also take impressions of your top and lower jaw to ensure that your artificial teeth fit you comfortably and look natural.
What Is Full Arch Implants: During Dental Implant Surgery
All on 4 dental implants are placed under anaesthetic to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Any remaining natural teeth will be extracted, and the damaged gum tissue will be surgically removed. Some tissue will also be removed to accommodate your new prosthesis comfortably.
Placing the dental implants
Your dentist will drill holes into your jaw: two holes are drilled at the front and two in the back. It’s important that the holes are drilled at the correct angle to allow for maximum stability and to ensure that the implants do not affect any other facial structures. Afterwards, the implants are inserted and tightened, and gum tissue is replaced before the incisions are closed up.
Placing the abutments
Next, your dental practitioner will place the abutments onto the ends of the implants before attaching the temporary prosthesis. Once your dental practitioner has checked your bite and is satisfied that the prosthesis is secure, you are ready for the healing process.
Recovery and healing
It will take three to four months for your dental implants to fuse fully with your jaw.
During this time, you will be advised to eat a soft food diet as you go through the healing process.
Once osseointegration has taken place, you will return to your dental practitioner for the fitting of your final prosthesis.
What Is Full Arch Implants Expected Lifespan?
With good dental care, all on 4 dental implants can be expected to last for 20 to 25 years. In some cases, they last for longer. It is essential that you continue to visit your dentist twice a year for checkups, even if you think there are no issues.
Is The Full Arch Implants Procedure Right For You?
Patients who have multiple missing teeth and are looking for a long-term tooth replacement will benefit from the all on 4 procedure. It is a permanent prosthesis, which means you can’t remove it. This also means you don’t have to worry about slippage or dietary restrictions. A dentist that offers free consultation can help you to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure and explore any alternatives.
If you are missing a full arch of teeth, the all on 4 procedure offers a practical way to replace all your teeth without the need for the placement of single dental implants.
The all on 4 procedure has a success rate of 94%, which makes it a viable and predictable solution for tooth loss. No other tooth replacement matches it. Even though it takes a great deal of skill and planning, the procedure can be completed in a relatively short time frame, especially when compared to the placement of single implants.
For more help in understanding what is all on 4 dental implants, and if it is a viable solution for you, please contact us for a free dental consultation near you: (07) 3113 9789.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.
A longitudinal study of the survival of All-on-4 implants in the mandible with up to 10 years of follow-up