These days, information is available to whoever is willing to look for it. We have found that dental procedures are not an exception to this. We love that patients learn about what is happening with their teeth because it is easier for them to follow along with the dentist´s recommendations and actions. What is more, if they are going to invest in dental treatment it is only fair for them to understand what they are investing in. We have also discovered over the course of the years that the amount of information on dental implants and implant-supported dentures, also known as All-on-4, has proliferated considerably. These are not only marketed as the perfect solution to all dental problems but also endorsed by many dentists as such. Whole-arch implant restorations are a great way to give some patient´s smiles back, but their purpose is to replace missing teeth, not to replace teeth.
The condition of a tooth can be categorized into three groups: healthy, doubtful, or unsalvageable. Healthy teeth are those whom the dentist can safely say that in normal circumstances will last a long time without considerable treatment. Doubtful teeth are those whose condition indicates they will probably need possibly extensive treatment over a short amount of time. Unsalvageable teeth are those in which further treatment is futile and whose only option is extraction. It is part of a dentist´s duty to decide, based on measurable evidence, the category to which each tooth belongs and the kind of treatment it will require. However, they generally side with either a conservative or a progressive outlook. The conservative outlook will resort to root canals, crowns, inlays, or periodontal treatments in view of preserving the tooth for as long as possible even if it is in a doubtful condition. The progressive outlook will resort to the extraction of doubtful teeth, and some would be willing to sacrifice even healthy teeth for a practical solution with implant replacements. We have found that the latter has become popular and persons with an almost complete dentition are willing to extract everything in favor of a permanent implant-retained denture.
Such radical decisions must be considered thoroughly. Getting an all-on-four is not the end of the patient´s record with the dentist or with dental care altogether. In fact, studies have shown that implant survival rates are much lower as compared with natural tooth survival rates. This means that there is a higher possibility of a complication after a dental implant than with a natural tooth with restoration work. For this reason, removing your teeth in order to get dental implants will require even more frequent visits to your dentist and more careful daily dental care. For example, bacteria can creep into the implants and cause an infection if the fixed bridgework is not properly cleaned. This infection can cause the loss of the implants and subsequent failure of the prosthetic. In addition, a full-mouth restoration using conservative procedures can turn out to be less expensive than some All–on-4 options. Finally, living with artificial teeth will never be the same experience than doing so with natural teeth. After a full-mouth extraction, patients must adjust to speaking, eating, tasting and biting in a different way.
Everything is about balance. At the Costa Rica Dental Team, we must be especially careful because 98 percent of our patients come from overseas and are unable to assist regular checkups. Because of this, our dentists cannot employ strictly conservative measures. However, they will do everything that is reasonably possible to preserve your teeth. Here, you can have a full mouth restoration for a reasonable price. Contact us now for a free quote.