About one in six adults have no natural teeth. There are many possible causes and effects of this high statistic. Dentists have always been committed to helping those needing dentures with the best esthetic and functional replacements.
In the past, this primarily involved improving the materials used in making dentures. However, dental implants have recently brought an ideal solution. All-On-Four dental implants can benefit those missing several or all of their teeth with their many advantages.
The Purpose of Dental Implants
A dental implant is a small screw or post placed in your jaw to support a dental prosthesis. Most dental implants are made of titanium and can support a single crown, a fixed bridge, or a denture. The implant is submerged beneath the gums, and although it cannot be seen, it can play a major role in helping you maintain oral health.
Problems Caused by Missing Teeth
Water fluoridation, improved access to dental care, and an emphasis on oral health have helped decrease the incidence of dental cavities and tooth loss. Despite these improvements, adults between ages twenty and sixty-four average having twenty-five remaining teeth. Although the leading cause of tooth extractions in adults is periodontal disease, dental cavities and trauma still pose significant threats to oral health.
Missing just one tooth can lead to the shifting of surrounding teeth, adversely affecting how your teeth fit together. This can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Missing several or all of your teeth can also negatively influence your overall health by impeding your ability to eat a healthy diet.
An additional problem created by missing teeth is sagging facial muscles that can cause you to look older. Your teeth and the bone surrounding them support facial muscles to prevent premature wrinkles in your face. When you lose a tooth, you also begin losing this bone, and your cheeks can begin to sink, resulting in skin folds and wrinkles.
The Solution of All-On-Four Implants
Six to eight dental implants are needed to support fixed bridges for complete upper or lower arch rehabilitation. However, in the 1990s, a beneficial and cost-effective treatment was developed using only four implants to support an upper or lower denture.
These four titanium implants are placed in precise locations at predetermined angles to offer maximum support and optimal esthetics of the replacement teeth. This All-On-Four treatment offers patients the opportunity to replace all of their teeth with a permanent solution to removable dentures.
All-On-Four Dental Implant Pros
Dentists have successfully treated patients with removable dentures for many years. This has proven to be a reliable option for replacing several or all teeth. However, dental implants can now provide a more ideal option with several advantages, including:
- High success rate. One recent study found that the implant success rate was more than 90%, and the prosthesis success rate approached 100% after eighteen years.
- Quick results. Appointments for consultations and preparations such as X-rays and mouth impressions are needed. However, the All-On-Four technique allows you to enjoy the benefits of a new smile in one appointment. Additionally, the surgery to place the implants is minimally invasive and is typically completed quickly.
- Eat what you want. Unlike other teeth replacement options, you have no dietary restrictions with implant-supported dentures after the implants heal. You will also enjoy a restored chewing capacity that is superior to an implant-supported overdenture or complete dentures.
- More comfortable. Removable dentures can move when you eat or speak and create mouth sores. Because All-On-Four implants secure your prosthesis, they do not cause this problem.
- More confidence. Since All-On-Four implants are more secure than traditional dentures, you can live your life more confidently without worrying about the embarrassment of a denture slipping.
- Improved taste. Traditional dentures cover your palate and diminish your taste sensation. All-On-Four implants overcome this problem by only covering the area of your teeth.
All-On-Four Dental Implant Cons
Most of the disadvantages of All-On-Four implants are temporary and can be easily overcome. Some of the possible All-On-Four cons include the following:
- Implant failure. Modern technology has raised the success rate significantly for dental implants in recent years. Although most studies show that implants are an almost perfect solution to replace missing teeth, implants can fail for various reasons. The few implant failures that occur seem to take place during the time immediately after implant placement. During this time, it is essential that you follow postoperative instructions, which are critical to implant success.
- Longer treatment time. When compared to removable dentures, All-On-Four treatment requires additional time for X-rays, 3D CAT scan, implant surgery, and recovery time.
- Speech difficulties. Some patients report having difficulty saying certain words. However, this does not seem to be a problem that affects the high overall patient satisfaction of having All-On-Four dental implants placed.
- High cost. The initial cost of this permanent solution to several or all missing teeth is more than a traditional removable denture. While the difference might seem overwhelming, it is important to remember the cost includes surgery, possible sedation, bone grafting, and the cost of titanium implants.
- Sore gums. Since All-On-Four treatment involves gum surgery, you will have soreness until the area heals. Following the postoperative instructions that you are given is critical to healing quickly and uneventfully. You will be given specific instructions regarding aftercare, including the foods to eat and avoid.
Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from having dental implant surgery, you may be a candidate for All-On-Four dental implants. The high success rate, ease of the procedure, restoring natural chewing ability, and superior esthetic results make the All-On-Four dental implants an ideal option for replacing several or all of your missing teeth.
Schedule an Appointment
If you need an upper or lower denture or a complete set of dentures, you may have the option of All-On-Four implants. After considering the pros and cons, you may be left with the question of whether implant-supported dentures are worth the added investment of time and cost. Before deciding, please schedule a consultation with Palmetto Dental Arts to learn more about the process and find out if you are an ideal candidate for All-On-Four dental implants.