Dental implants are preferred for tooth replacement in adults and seniors, mainly because traditional dental bridges and dentures can have many disadvantages. These include discomfort, food getting stuck in the empty space between teeth, bad breath from the build-up of bacteria below the gums etc.
Today there is a system that enables a patient to get all of their teeth replaced by dental implants in just one day. It is called the All-on-4 Dental Implant System, and it is becoming increasingly popular with patients looking to replace a few or many of their teeth.
What Is the Concept Behind the All-on-4?
The concept behind the All-on-4 dental implant technique is that instead of fitting one dental implant into each missing tooth space, four implants are used to support a bridge replacement. The bridge itself runs across these four implants rather than being supported by just them.
The advantages this system offers patients include:
- Full replacement of all teeth can be made in just one visit.
- There is no need for uncomfortable dentures or removable orthodontics appliances to hold the implants in place.
- The marginal bone level remains stable, so it does not collapse after tooth removal.
- If required, multiple units can be installed on the same day.
- There is no need for temporary crowns.
- All on 4 necessary treatment can be provided in one visit – implant surgery, bone grafting, and bridgework in just one appointment. This minimizes patient discomfort and reduces costs by eliminating the need for multiple appointments.
How Does All-On-4 Work?
The implants are placed bilaterally under the gums and restored with either a single bridge or a fixed denture. They provide stability and support and serve as anchor points for ancillary appliances such as retainers and prosthetic devices. This means that removable appliances are no longer necessary to hold the implant in place.
All-On-4 Implant Surgery
The surgery for this system typically requires three visits to the dentist. The first visit includes taking impressions, treatment planning, and implant placement. The second visit is dedicated to the surgical part of the procedure. One or two implants are installed per session on the final visit, with any necessary attachments being added. This means that the patient can leave with their general anaesthetic already wearing their final implants, rather than being sent home with temporary crowns to hold the implant in place.
The procedure usually takes about an hour per tooth space.
Is All-On-4 Dental Implant Treatment Right for Me?
As with any dental treatment, you should check with your dentist before deciding to proceed with this procedure.
Generally speaking, the All-on-4 dental implant system is not for everyone, but it can be beneficial in certain situations.
Here are some of the conditions which make All on 4 dental implants an appropriate choice:
- Patients who are not good candidates for removable appliances.
- Patients who don’t prefer dentures or fixed bridges.
- Patients with minimal bone height – this procedure does not require a lot of space in the jaw for implants, so patients with low-density bone may be considered suitable candidates.
- Patients over 70 years old – because All-On-4 dental implants can be placed and restored in just one day, it is an ideal treatment for the elderly.
Which Implants Are Used in the All-on-4 Dental Implant System?
The All-on-4 technique can be applied to many different types of implants, including some of the most advanced techniques, such as the Sinus Implant.
Do I Need Bone Grafting?
Your dentist will likely recommend some bone grafting if you consider this treatment option. This helps strengthen the jaw and increase the number of implant sites available to complete the All-on-4 procedure.
All-On-4 Implants Are Not Right For Everyone
Although All-On-4 is a popular treatment option for some patients, it cannot be applied to every individual. Some of the criteria which will exclude you from consideration include:
- A compromised immune system can prevent successful bone regeneration after surgery.
- Severe periodontal disease– the success of All-on-4 treatment is mainly reliant on your oral health. If you have severe periodontal disease, it may be wise to address this first before placing implants.
- Smoking – smoking can increase the rate of bone loss and decrease healing time, making All-on-4 a less suitable option for some patients.
If you consider having all your teeth replaced with the All-on-4 technique, you should speak to your dentist about whether or not he feels this would be appropriate for your mouth. After all, replacing all your teeth is a big decision that should not be made lightly.