If you have recently lost most or all of your teeth, the all-on-four implant option may help you regain your smile.
The idea behind an all-on-four implant is that you can replace all of the teeth in the top or bottom jaw with only four implants. The four implant posts will support a full bridge that contains 14 adult teeth. This is considered by many a much better option than having 14 separate implants, and it is a more natural alternative to dentures. Don't confuse all-on-four implants with four-on-one types. Four-on-one implants have up to four crowns attached to a single implant post, compared to all-on-four implants, which use four posts to support up to 14 teeth.
"All-on-four" is sometimes a misnomer, though. Depending on the amount of bone tissue available to give support, as well as the weight and flex necessary for the bridge, there may be more than four implants placed. This means some people may have all on five or even all on seven implants. The number of implants necessary may even vary between the top and bottom jaw for those that need both sets of teeth replaced.
There are some concerns with all-on-four implants. The first is the space required. The bridge that is constructed to hold 14 teeth often has more depth than the natural depth of the teeth being replaced. This may mean that some surgical work must be done to shave down bone to accommodate the bridge.
The bridge may also alter the soft palate slightly, which can impact speech. With practice, any slurring caused by the implant bridge can often be overcome, but for those that have speech-heavy jobs, it is important that the speech impacts are understood.
The benefits often outweigh the few concerns. The most obvious benefit is that implants perform more like natural teeth, so there are no more concerns about slipping or loose dentures. Further, care for implants mimics that of natural teeth, which is much easier for many people.
Compared to other implant choices, one of the main benefits is that the installation of fewer implant posts means quicker recovery and fewer invasive surgeries. All-on-four implants may also be less expensive than other implant options.
Contact a dental implant specialist in your area to determine if this procedure is right for you.
To learn more about all-on-four dental implants, contact a dentist.