For many years, your only choices for tooth loss were doing without or having a custom denture or bridge made to replace missing teeth. This changed with the development of dental implants. Instead of a replacement system that sits over the gum and jaw, implants place an artificial tooth root directly into the bone of the jaw, providing the strongest and most secure alternative to natural teeth.
When replacing all your teeth, two key options include an implant system called All-On-Four®️ as well as conventional denture plates. For most patients, the All-On-Four option is the way to go. Here’s why.
Implants have many benefits by their very nature and are now considered the standard of care for patients who require tooth replacement, whether a single tooth, several, or a complete set. Perhaps the most obvious advantage over dentures is that implants are permanent.
There’s no embarrassment stemming from removable appliances that may slip during eating or speech. However, that’s only the beginning of the advantages that implants offer. Other benefits include:
When you’re replacing a single tooth with an implant, the system resembles a natural tooth very closely. The implant itself resembles the root of a natural tooth, and the artificial crown recreates the visible portion of a natural tooth in shape and appearance.
However, when you have multiple teeth to replace, you may not need one implant per lost tooth, particularly when the lost teeth are adjacent or if you’ve lost all your teeth. When you need to replace a complete set of upper or lower teeth, the All-On-Four system extends the advantages of dental implants.
Instead of one implant per tooth, the All-On-Four system uses four implants to anchor a permanent replacement set, top, bottom, or both. These prosthetic teeth are typically made from porcelain, a tough, stain resistant material that closely resembles natural teeth in color and translucence.
All your teeth can be firmly anchored with eight implants. If you’ve lost bone mass in your jaw due to lost teeth, you may still be a candidate for the All-On-Four system, since the precise location of the implants is variable. These can be placed where enough bone mass remains. As with all dental implants, the implant post and bone of the jaw integrate, creating a foundation that approaches the strength of natural teeth.
Despite the many advantages of the implant-based All-On-Four system, there are a few considerations that may still steer you toward removable dentures. The most compelling reason may be the loss of jawbone mass. If you’ve been without natural teeth for some time, you may have lost so much bone that there’s not enough for successful implants. Bone grafting may be an option, but this adds to the time and expense of the All-On-Four procedure.
Contact my clinic by phone or online to arrange a consultation. We can discuss your case and decide together which options are right for you. Book an appointment today.