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All-on-4 Dental Implants

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The thought of getting dentures is unappealing to many people. They have an unfortunate reputation through TV and film as falling out at embarrassing moments and being generally unpleasant to deal with. Unfortunately, for those missing an entire arch of teeth, they’re the only option.

However, there is a variation to dentures which are comfortable, provide support — and won’t fall out. They’re implant-supported dentures, also known as All-On-4.

What is All-on-4?

“All-on-4” is a method of replacing an entire arch of teeth by using dental implants to support a denture. As the name suggests, just 4 implants are used to support the arch. Most implant-supported dentures otherwise use anywhere from 6-8 implants.

The All-on-4 system is carefully designed to minimise the amount of surgery needed, while maximising the support provided for the dentures. It requires very precise planning aided with digital X-rays and state of the art technology for best results.

Benefits of Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures, and All-on-4 in particular, have two major advantages:

Firstly, they help maintain the shape of the jaw. After teeth are extracted, bone volume decreases. This in turn results in the jaw changing shape and the mouth becoming puckered over time. Dental implants help to maintain the shape of the jaw and lessen the effects of bone shrinking.

Secondly, and the one most patients are concerned about, is support. Traditional dentures held in place over the gum simply don’t have much holding them in place. Dental implants provide a solid foundation for the denture, anchoring it in place and making it a more secure biting surface than before. You can get implant-supported removable dentures as well, where the support base of the denture is anchored to the implant but the denture itself is removable.

Benefits of All-on-4

There are specific benefits to All-on-4.

Primarily there is the conservative number of implants necessary to make the procedure work. This allows for less surgery and overall faster healing.

All-on-4 can also support same-day restorations in some cases. Select patients will be able to leave the surgery with new temporary teeth already in place. This is not possible with traditional implant-supported dentures.

Downsides of All-on-4

Nothing is perfect, and All-on-4 isn’t any different.

The selection criteria is much stricter than other implant procedures. All-on-4 requires very precise planning for the placement of the implants, since so few have to support so much. Not every jaw is suitable for this procedure.

The implants in All-on-4 are all placed in the front of the jaw. That means there are no implants over the molars, where most of the bite force is concentrated.

Lastly, because there are few implants, just one failing results in the whole system failing. When there are 6-8 implants and one fails, only the failed implant needs to be replaced. Because All-on-4 is so precise, failure in one implant means redoing much of the procedure.