Dental implants are especially effective in front tooth restoration due to great aesthetics. What if all your teeth fell out? Fun fact: you don’t always need an implant for each tooth. A whole arch can be permanently placed on just four rods.
By using a smaller number of implants, the costs are lower and the recovery is easier. Is this the right solution for you? Along with our dental team we have prepared a thorough guide to help you understand the process.Creative Commons
What are All-on-4 dental implants?
The All-on-4 is a hybrid denture mounted on 4 implants. It can replace both the upper and lower arches. This method is a permanent solution, so maintenance is also easier. You can treat the teeth like your natural smile. The prosthesis can only be taken out by the dentist.
Dr. Richard Hattaway
Hybrid dentures are fixed (meaning you can not remove them on your own) dentures that replace missing teeth and gums.
The Ao4 solution is great for patients who are toothless or have teeth damaged beyond repair. The method is also suitable if the patient has experienced bone loss. This happens if lost teeth are not replaced immediately.
In short, All-on-Four benefits include no need for bone augmentation procedures, high functionality and comfort, and reduced costs.
Dr. Richard Hattaway
The implants are placed at an angle so extensive bone grafting and sinus lifts can be avoided.
How much does All-on-4 cost?
The price of the All-on-4 treatment ranges from $15,000 to $28,000. The average comes out to about $21,000. This does not include additional costs such as the initial consultation or extractions.
How much you pay for All-on-4 depends on the following factors:
- the condition of your mouth,
- the materials used,
- the specialists experience, and
- your location.
It may be cost-efficient to travel to a smaller city to have the procedure performed. Prices in largely-populated areas tend to be inflated.
All in all, this procedure tends to come out favorable when you compare it to the cost of dental implants individually.
What is the All-on-4 procedure like?
The Ao4 process is similar to the traditional dental implants procedure. Most of the resemblance takes place in the preliminary stages. The procedure itself, however, is a little different.
During the first meeting with your dentist, which will look similarly to a regular exam, you can ask about anything you are unsure of. You come up with a treatment plan and there are likely to be X-rays to ensure optimal placement of the implants. Extractions may be scheduled.
This is different for each patient, depending on what you need done. The most popular are tooth extractions and periodontal treatment.
Before any dental implantation, gum disease must be completely treated. If you suffer from it, your dentist may perform scaling and root planing. This may be skipped if contaminated teeth are removed. This is another way to treat periodontal problems.
A dental impression might be taken to ensure your denture is ready as soon as rods are implanted.
The All-on-4 are usually placed under local anesthesia.
Two dental implants are mounted at the front normally and two in the back at a 45° angle. This provides enough stability to mount an entire fixed arch. Thanks to this, additional procedures such as bone grafting are not always necessary.
Fitting of the prosthesis
The denture might be fitted the same day. It depends on the condition of your mouth. If not, you will return home with the implants and perhaps a temporary denture. In such a case the final prosthesis is usually mounted 3-6 months later, when the healing is complete.
What does Ao4 recovery look like?
The All-on-Four dental implants recovery time is pretty straight forward. Many patients return to work within a few days up to a week.
Dr. Richard Hattaway
During the recovery period it is critical to follow the recommendations provided by your clinician. This often times mean you will be on a soft or liquid food diet for 8-12 weeks.
The prosthesis which is mounted in the All-on-4 format fuses to the bone a lot faster than with the traditional way. Stability is provided by the design. This means full recovery may take less than the standard 8 months.
It is important to take excellent care of your new smile after the surgery. Here are some tips:
- bite down on gauze to control bleeding,
- prepare a saltwater rinse if bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours,
- brush your teeth gently but thoroughly,
- rest as much as possible and avoid physical exercise for 3-4 days,
- do not smoke for at least 2 months, and
- stick to a soft food diet for at least 3 months.
What are the most common All-on-4 problems?
As with any procedure, the All-on-Four method comes with its risks. The following are the most common. If you feel any of them are an issue in your case, contact your dentist. There may be something he or she can do to help.
Patients with the All-on-4 may not feel how strongly they are biting. This is because the prosthesis covers the gums. It often leads to harder chewing and wearing your fake teeth down prematurely or even implants breaking.
Some may be prone to bruxism but not aware of it. This is problematic if you get only one arch done. The opposing teeth might get damaged due to jaw clenching which often happens while you sleep.
For some it is difficult to adapt to a bulky prosthesis in the mouth. This usually concerns the first few weeks while you get used to it, but it may be annoying for some..
Since the prosthesis covers your gums, it is difficult to remove bacteria and food debris if it gets underneath it. If the prosthesis is placed correctly this should not happen. That’s why it’s so important to go with an expert.
You should be brushing and cleaning your mouth daily to help prevent this.
This may happen in the case of any implant solution. The chances are small, making only 5% of cases. The best way to prevent this is to conduct excellent aftercare and hygiene.
How to clean All-on-4 dental implants?
The All-on-four is fixed, which means you won’t be able to remove it yourself. The good news is that it’s designed in a way that allows you to care for it as you would your natural teeth. Brush at least twice a day or after every meal.
Choose a soft-bristled brush. It can be both manual or electric. The latter is recommended for those with any manual dexterity: it makes up for a lot of the brushing action. Use circular movements all around your teeth and the prosthesis.
Flossing and using water picks is also recommended. It is a great way to remove food debris that you simply can’t reach with a toothbrush. Use non-alcoholic mouthwash to finish off.
You can also invest in a rubber-tip gum stimulator. It helps clean out all places where your gums touch the prosthesis.
Dr. Peter March
The same buildup that occurs on teeth will be on the denture and could affect the longevity of the implants the same way periodontal disease affects teeth.
Regular checkups and dental cleanings remain the most important part of care.
Getting All-on-4 dental implants near you
There are over 200,000 dentists across the US. Finding the right one to perform All-On-Four procedure may not be easy. The surgery requires training, experience, and excellent manual dexterity. What’s more, it’s a big investment.
How long do All-on-4 implants last?
If you take proper care of your restoration, the Ao4 prosthesis should last 10-15 years. Proper care means having a regular professional cleaning of the prosthesis and implants. Your dentist may remove it at times to clean it outside the mouth.
The rods themselves are a life-long solution, so unless something goes wrong, you will never have to remove them.
Are All-on-4 dental implants comfortable?
It’s always down to personal preference, but the Ao4 solution was designed to provide as much comfort as possible. Patients reviews prove that a fixed solution offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to talking, eating and laughing.
The fact that the prosthesis is not removable means you take care of your smile as if it was natural.
Do All-on-Four look real?
Since the prosthesis covers the gums, you may feel the restoration does not look completely natural. We are all very critical about what we look like. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to spot the difference.
All-on-4 looks a lot more convincing than traditional dentures. The key is to get them done at a respectable office, where prosthesis are state of the art.
How painful are Ao4 dental implants?
The procedure is comparable to multiple implant placement. The surgery is usually done under a local anesthetic. With traditional implants, patients are often under total sedation.
Should I get Ao4 dental implants?
Your dentist is the best person to evaluate your individual situation to determine what the best course of action is. Generally, the Ao4 solution is recommended for those who have all teeth on an arch missing or whose teeth are damaged beyond repair.
A little bone loss is not a problem either, since the design allows for a smaller amount of bone to support the restoration. In fact, additional bone reduction is always required for Ao4 to make room for the prosthesis.
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