Missing teeth affect much more than one’s appearance. They cause problems eating, difficulty enunciating correctly, can lead to jaw pain from the poor alignment of one’s remaining teeth, and cause bone loss in a person’s jawbone.
Replacing missing teeth with dentures may seem cost-effective, but dentures – be it traditional or snap-in dentures – have many drawbacks. They are bulky, uncomfortable, require special cleaning every day, and are prone to slipping out of place. Regular dentures are also easy to break and accumulate odors.
What Are All on 4 Dental Implants?
Before we dive into All on 4 dental implants, let’s first look at what a dental implant is. A dental implant is a tiny titanium screw that is placed into your jawbone. This little screw works as an artificial tooth root and will support a prosthetic tooth once the jawbone has healed. The titanium post is unique in that titanium encourages bone tissue to fuse to it, giving the artificial tooth—the dental implant crown—a secure, firm foundation superior to any other type of tooth replacement.
All on 4 is a special type of dental implant procedure that replaces an entire upper or lower arch of teeth with only 4 dental implants. With an All on 4 dental implant, you can replace an entire row of teeth in one day.
Biggest Benefits / Pros of All on 4 Dental Implants
Quick Surgery / Process
When carried out by an oral surgeon (as in the case here at America’s First Dental Implant Centers), the surgical stage of the All on 4 dental implant procedure is quick and efficient. An All on 4 dental implant surgery takes 1-2 hours under IV sedation anesthesia; because you will be asleep during the procedure, the procedure will be painless.
As the name tells us, All on 4 dental implants only require 4 implant holes to be drilled into each jawbone. Compared to using a single implant for each missing tooth, the All on 4 procedure requires fewer incisions, takes less time to heal, and is much less invasive.
Unlike dentures, which can be fragile, All on 4 dental implants are just as strong as natural teeth. The dental implant bridge used in All on 4s are made of zirconia, a tough material that is much stronger than acrylic, which is what dentures are usually made of. This combination of the titanium screw and zirconia bridge allow you to chew any food you like, with no dietary restrictions. This in turn can help a person’s overall health, by allowing them to eat more nutritious foods.
You carry out the same dental hygiene practice for All on 4 dental implants that you do for natural teeth: brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouth wash twice a day. Same as for natural teeth, twice-yearly cleaning maintenance visits to your dental health professional are also an essential part of caring for your all on 4 dental implants.
All on 4 dental implants work just like natural teeth. The implants themselves are set into the jawbone, unlike dentures, which rest on top of tender gum tissue. You don’t need any special creams or adhesives to hold them in place. Unlike dentures, All on 4 dental implants will not cause sore spots on your gums and will never slip.
As well, All on 4s are angled to duplicate a healthy jaw alignment, which can help get rid of pain in the jaws that are due to a misaligned bite. Proper jaw alignment allows a person to eat and speak comfortably.
Only dental implants offer a life-long solution to missing teeth. Traditional dentures are fragile and need to be replaced every 4 or 5 years. They’re prone to discoloring and breakage and pick up offensive odors easily.
In contrast, dental implant crowns are made of zirconia, a durable and tough material that replicates the strength of natural teeth. Because zirconia is not porous, they do not pick up odors. When properly cared for (and placed by certified oral surgeons), All on 4 dental implants will last a lifetime.
All on 4 dental implants look just like healthy natural teeth. Unlike acrylic dentures that look bulky, All on 4 dental implants are sleek and won’t discolor or stain over time. Because All on 4 dental implants work like natural tooth roots, they stimulate the blood vessels of the jawbone and prevent bone loss. This helps preserve a person’s facial structure, as only dental implants prevent bone loss in the facial bones.
Missing teeth rob a person of the confidence they need to thrive. Having a full mouth of healthy teeth is a confidence booster and can help people return to a full social life.
Missing teeth can make it difficult to pronounce some sounds correctly. When a missing arch of teeth is replaced by an All on 4 dental implant restoration, the new teeth are perfectly aligned, restoring a person’s ability to enunciate properly.
Drawbacks / Cons of All on 4 Dental Implants
Most of the drawbacks to All on 4 dental implants are either temporary or not applicable to high-quality implants.
Although it is very rare, sometimes implant rejection occurs. Implant rejection is typically the result of peri-implantitis, a disease similar to periodontitis. In peri-implantitis, bacteria infect the gums around the dental implant, causing swollen, tender gums at first. Gum tissue recedes and pulls away from the implant, causing pockets to form. These pockets fill up with bacteria, leading to accumulations of pus. Although a person may not see the pus, it can cause a bad taste in the mouth—a sign to go to the doctor immediately.
If caught early, peri-implantitis can be treated and the implant saved. Otherwise, the implant will have to be removed. Peri-implantitis can be caused by poor dental hygiene, an impaired immune system, or some behaviors like nail-biting and teeth grinding.
Dental implant failure can also be caused by gum infections like those that cause periodontitis. Other causes of dental implant failure include:
- poor implant placement
- a poorly fabricated prosthetic
- an improperly adjusted bite
- bruxism (grinding one’s teeth at during sleep)
- some medical conditions
It’s always tempting to save money, but cheap dental implants made of poor-quality materials or dental implants that are too small (such as mini dental implants) can break. A broken dental implant will have to be removed and can damage tissues that will need to heal before further repairs can be performed.
Cheap implants may fail to fuse properly into the bone and become loose, which puts the entire crown out of alignment, leading to a poorly aligned bite, which can cause jaw pain and damage other implants.
Possible Impairment to Speech
Cheap implants may fail to fuse properly into the bone and become loose, which puts the entire bridge out of alignment, leading to a poorly aligned bite and an impairment of a person’s speech.
Even when the dental implants are properly placed, a poorly made set of teeth will also cause speech impairments.
The All on 4 dental implant surgery takes 1-2 hours per arch. The whole process of getting a new arch of teeth has several steps, that from beginning to end will take a few months to complete.
These are the steps involved in getting All on 4 dental implants.
- Initial Appointment: At your first appointment, your doctor will gather your complete medical history and perform an oral examination of your mouth. Your doctor will also take detailed x-rays and 3D CT scans to determine exactly where your jawbone is thickest, as that’s the most secure place for implants.
- Surgery: At this visit, your dental implant surgery is carried out, which takes 2 to 3 hours per arch for the surgery and new teeth placement. Your doctor will do all of the following:
- If the surgery is performed by an oral surgeon, you will be put under IV sedation
- Remove any remaining teeth that need to come out
- Open the gums at the site of the implant
- Drill 4 small holes into the jawbone for the implant posts, one hole per post
- Place a titanium post in each hole
- Close the gums around the new implants
- On the day of the surgery, you will be fitted with a set of temporary teeth so you’ll never need to go a day without teeth.
The healing process takes 3 to 4 months. During this time, osseointegration takes place, as bone tissue fuses to the implant. It’s this secure and deep attachment of the dental implant to the jawbone that gives dental implants their famous security and stability. Once the implant is fused inside the jawbone, your permanent teeth can be placed.
- Permanent Teeth: At your final visit, your permanent dental implant zirconia bridge will be placed on top of the dental implants. They will fit on top of connectors called abutments, which are fastened permanently and securely to the dental implants.
Yes, All on 4 Dental implants are fixed and permanent and made to last a lifetime.
One of the greatest advantages of All on 4 Implants is that they look, feel and function just like natural teeth. No one can tell that you have dental implants, as they are indistinguishable from natural teeth.
All-on-4 Dental implants are fixed and permanent and are not removable except by your doctor.
Wearing All-on-4 dental implants is as comfortable as having natural teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implant crowns do not press onto sensitive gum tissue. They’re also fixed in place and will never slip or rub sore spots onto the gums. Because they return a person’s jaw alignment to normal, there’s no more jaw pain during eating or speaking.
As far as getting All-on-4 dental implants, the amount of discomfort a patient experiences during an implant procedure depends on who performs it. A dentist is unable to offer IV sedation anesthesia and will use injections of Novocain while you are awake into the sensitive oral tissues to numb the affected areas. This will leave a patient awake and aware during the surgery and this is usually a painful and unpleasant experience.
All-on-4 dental implant procedures performed by an oral surgeon are carried out under IV sedation anesthesia. The patient sleeps throughout the entire process, which is painless. As mentioned earlier, at America’s First Dental Implant Centers, all of our dental implant procedures are performed by oral surgeons under IV sedation anesthesia.
For the first few days after surgery, a person may wish to take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Stronger pain medications can also be prescribed and accessed at a pharmacy.
Your dental implant sites will be swollen for a few days after surgery. Swelling after oral surgery is normal and can be minimized by applying using cold compresses to the jaw. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as naproxen or ibuprofen will also help reduce inflammation, as well as any residual discomfort.
7. What Foods Can I Eat with All On 4 Dental Implants?
You can eat any food you like with All on 4 dental implants. There are no dietary restrictions. In comparison, with acrylic dentures there are many foods you can’t eat, including hard foods and crunchy foods full of healthy fiber.
Because All on 4 dental implants allow you to eat any foods you want, you’ll be able to eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, which will help improve your overall health.
8. When Can I Go Back To Work After All On 4 Dental Implants?
Although the All on 4 dental implant procedure might seem a little daunting, the recovery time is similar to other oral surgery. Most people go back to work 2 or 3 days after an All on 4 dental implant procedure.
It’s not recommended to return to your normal schedule before 48 hours have gone by. Taking it easy and resting for 2 to 3 days is an important part of your initial healing.
9. How Much do All on 4 dental implants cost?
The national average cost for a full arch of dental implants is $25,000 to $40,000 per arch, but at America’s First Dental Implant Centers, our cost for all-on-4 is $14,950/arch, which is 40 to 60 percent less than our competitors, and is backed by our Lowest Price Guarantee.
We can offer our pricing because we take care of every step in the dental implant process in-house. We also use the best doctors—only oral surgeons.
Our costs, which are all-inclusive, cover:
- All appointments
- All imaging requirements (e.g., CT scans)
- Surgery carried out by our oral surgeons, with IV sedation to remove any remaining teeth and place titanium dental implants into the jawbone
- Temporary teeth used during the recovery period
- Custom, permanent teeth made from zirconia
- All materials for the titanium implants and zirconia crown
10. Does Insurance Cover All on 4 Dental Implants?
Insurance companies typically don’t cover the costs of dental implants, as they consider dental implants to be a “cosmetic” procedure. However, America’s First Dental Implant Centers offer financing by working with a variety of financing partners to make the cost of dental implants as affordable as possible. Many of our partners will provide low or interest-free financing, depending on your credit score.
We also often work with patients who have poor credit who can’t afford the cost of implants outright. Regardless of your financial situation or credit score, our office will explore all financing options to help make dental implants a possibility, even for patients with poor credit.