During the last few years, patients have become more aware of the benefits of dental implants and how they can improve their lives. The All on 4 is an implant-supported denture fixed over four or more implants. This involves removing all of your remaining teeth, placing dental implants and letting them integrate into your jawbone, and having dentures perform all the functions your natural teeth would do. There are many materials for the All on 4 ranging from regular acrylic all the way to zirconium. The All on 4 is one of the most popular dental solutions, but here is a guide to let you know if this is the best option for you.
As we have mentioned before, the All on 4 involves removing all your remaining teeth. This option is particularly appropriate for patients who have already lost most or all of their teeth or whose remaining teeth are mostly compromised. It is never recommended to extract otherwise healthy teeth. Some people have the idea that because dentures promise an instant, esthetic solution, they should remove their healthy teeth. For these situations we always recommend to opt for options that will improve teeth esthetically without extracting them, even if they involve more time. The benefits of preserving your teeth, if they are healthy, are worth it!
The All on 4 procedure is a process. Some dental offices will make promises about a “teeth in a day” solution, which can be deceptive. All kinds of dental implants require a healing process to allow them to integrate into the bone. This means bone cells grow around their threads and harden. Only until then are implants able to function properly, and this process takes around 4 months. In the meantime, it is not recommended to load the implants with the weight of dentures and with chewing forces, as they can impede integration. The ideal option would be to wear traditional, removable, gum-supported dentures while these implants heal, and then replace these with fixed dentures.
The All on 4 is a cost-effective solution. It is so because it minimizes the number of dental implants and bone grafts to be placed in each jaw as opposed to having individual bridges over implants. The recommended number of implants for upper dentures is 5 and for lower, 4. Now, remember you are replacing complete arches, 14-16 units each, so if you find a very cheap option, look out for the materials used. The best and most high-end material available for the All on 4 denture is zirconium, as it is the most fracture and wear resistant material available and will provide the most stability when chewing and speaking.
The All on 4 does require low maintenance. However, this does not mean that you will halt all your dental hygiene routines or that they mean the end of dental appointments. You still need to brush and floss your teeth every day, each time you eat because food particles will get stuck beneath the denture. You also need to schedule a professional cleaning at least once a year, in which your dentist will remove the denture and have it cleaned thoroughly on the inside. This is very important because although you can’t get cavities, bacteria will still cause periodontitis, and infections can make implants fail at any stage of integration. So, if you are looking to forego all dental care practices, this is not for you.
The All on 4 is a great alternative to full dentures. They are more comfortable, stable and esthetic. At the Costa Rica Dental Team, we offer full zirconium dentures in a two-stage process using titanium dental implants. We offer an alternative to rising costs in the United States and Canada and strive to make dental treatments affordable. We are located in Costa Rica and count with more than 12 years’ experience in complex restorative dental work. Contact us if you still have questions on whether the All on 4 is an option for you.