If you have looked into options for replacing missing teeth, especially alternatives to traditional dentures, you have probably come across something called “all-on-four”. This is a revolutionary way to replace missing teeth that gives predictable, results that patients love!
What is All-on-Four?
All-on-four is the term dentists use to describe a certain prosthetic replacement of all the teeth in an arch that is connected to the jawbone via four dental implants. Every mouth has two dental arches, one on the upper jaw and the other on the lower jaw. All-on-four replaces all of the missing teeth in a single arch with a single prosthesis (fake set of teeth) that connects to four uniquely angled and aligned dental implants.
The name “All-on-four” encompasses both the dental implant surgery (including any necessary tooth extractions) and the placement of the new teeth. Although there is quite a lot of pre-operative planning that must take place, the actual all-on-four procedure that takes you from your existing teeth to your new teeth is one visit. There is no waiting period between your surgery and your prosthesis placement that forces you to go with no teeth!
How does All-on-Four Compare to a Traditional Denture?
All-on-four is similar to traditional dentures in that it replaces all of the teeth in an arch with a single prosthetic. As with traditional dentures, your dentist will design the teeth in the prosthesis to look as natural as possible within your face. The similarities end there.
All-on-four differs from traditional dentures in many ways. For starters, it is not removable. Your dentist attaches the all-on-four prosthesis to the dental implants with small screws, and you cannot “unscrew” them. This firm attachment means there is no embarrassing looseness and a very strong chewing function.
Because it gains its support from within the jawbone itself, all-on-four does not require support from the gums, lips, cheeks and tongue. This allows us to make all-on-four prosthetics much smaller and less bulky than traditional dentures. (Additionally, the implants used for all-on-four prosthetics work similarly to traditional dental implants in helping prevent further bone loss.)
Unlike traditional dentures, which you remove and clean yourself, all-on-four must be removed and cleaned professionally by your dentist. While you must perform good oral hygiene on an all-on-four, it is much different than cleaning tradition, removable dentures.
How does All-on-Four Compare to an Implant-Supported Denture?
All-on-four shares some important similarities with an implant-supported denture. These stem from the fact that both options receive their support from the dental implants within the jawbone. They both provide the benefits of confidence and great chewing force due to the firm attachment of the denture to the implant.
Implant-supported dentures are a wonderful treatment option, but they still have the disadvantage of being removable. You must take them out nightly to clean and let the soft tissues inside your mouth “breathe”. Implant-supported dentures do require a certain amount of bulk for strength, so an all-on-four is definitely much smaller.
What are the Advantages of All-on-Four over other Tooth Replacement Options?
The reason all-on-four is so popular among patients needing full arch tooth replacement is that it has so many advantages over the other treatment options.
- Not removable
- Same day surgery and placement
- No bulk of material under your lips and cheeks
- Beautiful smile restoration
- No sore spots
- Full chewing function (eat whatever you want)
- No fear of embarrassing looseness
Who Should Consider All-on-Four?
All-on-four is a wonderful treatment option for people facing the loss of all of their teeth. The following list includes many scenarios in which a person might consider removing all of their teeth and restoring them with all-on-four.
- Extensive decay (cavities) on the majority of your teeth
- Gum disease that has caused loss of support and looseness of most of the teeth
- Multiple missing teeth with not enough teeth remaining to support a partial
All-on-four is also a great option for those who have tried dentures and been unable to adapt to them. If you fall into one of the following categories, you should consider trading in your dentures for all-on-four:
- Poorly fitting dentures, even after relines and remakes
- Frequent, persistent mouth sores
- Constant fear of speaking, eating, or laughing in front of others
- Inability to chew well or eat your favorite types of food
- A removable denture just does not fit your lifestyle
- Unhappy with the look of fullness in the cheeks and lips due to the bulk of denture material
How to Get Started with All-on-Four
The first and most important step is the pre-operative planning. A thorough dental evaluation of your current teeth and jawbones, including x-rays and images of your jaws is mandatory.
An important aspect of the planning process is great communication between you and the dentist regarding your desired smile design. Bring old photos of what your smile used to look like, or what you want it to look like. We custom design each all-on-four to meet your unique smile goals.
Undergoing dental treatment with all-on-four is a big deal! We will walk you through every step of the process to ensure your complete health and safety, as well as your complete satisfaction with your new smile.
More Questions about All-on-Four?
Call today to schedule a consultation with our all-on-four experts. We can answer any questions you may have and help you get started on the road to a beautiful, healthy smile.
Read the studies below to see how all-on-four shares similar long term success with traditional dental implants: