Tooth loss affects over 69% of American adults over the age of 44.
If that number includes you, receiving “teeth in a day” likely sounds like an attractive option. You may be wondering, what are all-on-4 dental implants? Do they really live up to the promise of giving you your smile back in a single day?
If you have questions about all-on-4 dental implants, keep reading. We’ll explain everything you need to know about the procedure, its benefits, and just how it can give you back your smile.
What Are All-on-4 Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a way of permanently replacing your lost tooth.
First, the dental surgeon embeds the implant (a titanium post) into your jaw. This takes the place of your tooth’s root to keep the new tooth stable. After the implant surgery has healed, the dentist can apply an abutment (covering) to the implant, and finally, add a crown (artificial tooth) to complete the procedure.
Studies have shown that dental implants are extremely successful, leaving over 90% of patients “very satisfied” with the appearance and function of their new teeth.
However, what if you need more than one tooth replaced?
If you are experiencing major tooth loss, you can still get the permanence and comfort of dental implants without having to insert an implant for every tooth. You can turn to all-on-4 dental implants.
All-on-4 dental implants replace all the decayed or missing teeth in your lower or upper jaw using only 4 implants. This saves you surgery time while restoring your entire smile.
How Do All-on-4 Dental Implants Work?
Instead of inserting an implant (the titanium post that supports the tooth prosthetic) for every tooth, all-on-4 dental surgery only inserts 4 implants.
These 4 implants support a fixed bridge. This prosthetic supports the whole set of your new teeth, spanning your upper or lower jaw. After the implants and bridge are in place, the dentist attaches the whole set of artificial teeth to the bridge.
The All-on-4 implant technique gives you back your entire upper or lower set of teeth with a minimally invasive yet permanent surgical strategy.
Benefits of All-on-4 Dental Implants
As a total tooth replacement solution, all-on-4 dental implants offer many benefits compared to non-permanent dentures.
- All-on-4 implants are a permanent solution with proper care
- More natural-looking than dentures
- Because they are fixed in place, they will never slip around as dentures are prone to do
- Easier to clean — they are cleaned with brushing and flossing, just like regular teeth
- They avoid putting pressure on your gums, which can cause irritation and inflammation
- They help maintain your jaw bone so that it doesn’t shrink over time
The permanence of dental implants means that you’ll never have to deal with slippage, which can cause difficulty speaking and chewing.
A Speedy Solution
All-on-4 implants are an even quicker solution than traditional dental implants. While single implants require weeks of recovery time between inserting the posts and applying the artificial tooth, all-on-4 implants complete the whole procedure in a single visit.
This is one of the most popular benefits of all-on-4 dental implants. The quickness of the procedure is why they are often known as “teeth in a day.”
All-on-4 Dental Implant Procedure
Your all-on-4 dental implant procedure starts with diagnostic x-rays. This allows your dentist to make sure that you have enough bone mass to support the posts and prosthesis.
Once your dentist has confirmed that you are a good candidate for dental implants, you can plan your surgery date.
Consult with your dental surgeon about the type of anesthesia that you will use during your implant surgery. If you will receive general anesthesia, avoid eating or drinking for 8 hours before the surgery. Don’t forget to have another adult present to drive you home after the procedure is over.
All-on-4 Implant Surgery Aftercare
After your surgery, have an adult stay with you for at least 12 hours while you recover. Plan to take at least 3 days off work to stay and home and recover.
Monitor your postoperative pain level. You should be able to keep your discomfort manageable with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication.
Most dentists recommend a diet of soft foods for up to 3 weeks after your surgery. This allows your implants to heal without stress from chewing. Recommended foods include yogurt, protein shakes, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pudding, applesauce, and soup.
Lifetime Care of All-on-4 Implants
Once your implants have fully healed, you will take care of them just as you would care for your natural teeth. This includes regular hygiene measures such as:
- Regular checkups and dental cleaning
- Brushing as usual
- Flossing and using mouthwash as recommended
Research shows that with optimal care, all-on-4 dental implants have a greater than 94% success rate after ten years. They should last several decades, or up to a lifetime.
Who Is a Candidate For All-on-4 Dental Implants?
All-on-4 dental implants are a good solution for patients who:
- Need an entire upper or lower set of teeth replaced
- Want a permanent tooth replacement solution with no slippage or gum damage
- Have good jaw bone mass to support the dental implants
- Are concerned about jaw shrinkage due to loss of jaw bone mass
- Have a fully grown jaw
- Are committed to maintaining good dental hygiene
However, all-on-4 implants are not the best solution for everyone. You may want to choose another tooth replacement solution if you have one or more contraindication, such as:
- Being pregnant at the time of the dental implant surgery
- Drinking alcohol heavily
- Having low bone mass in your jaw
- Receiving radiation treatment
At the Arizona Periodontal Group, we know that every case is unique. If you’re unsure whether all-on-4 dental implants are the right solution for you, Dr. Tujillo will consult with you and help you find the best path forward.
All-on-4 Dental Implants: Right for You?
All-on-4 dental implants are an excellent and evidence-supported solution for major tooth loss. With this article, you’ll be able to understand what this dental solution entails and be ready to take the next steps.
Are you ready to get your smile back? Request an appointment with Dr. Tujillo today. Our Arizona Periodontal Group team will get you started on the path to your best smile.