What Makes the All-on-4 Process Different?
If you suffer from severe tooth decay or extreme tooth loss, All-on-4® treatment might be the perfect fit for you. All-on-4® prosthetics can serve as a great alternative to other total replacement options and give you a more natural feeling and looking permanent set of artificial teeth. Below is some more information about this artificial dentition treatment and how and why it might be a better choice for you.
The All-on-4® process
The All-on-4® process is a process for replacing all an individual's teeth on the upper or lower jaw using one prosthetic piece secured by dental implants. Below are some further details about why and how this process works.
The All-on-4® process involves using four or more dental implants to secure an entire set of mandibular or maxillary teeth. Dental implants are metal screws or posts that embed into the jawbone and act as artificial tooth roots. In this process, the implants support a prosthesis consisting of 10 to 14 teeth. It is intended for edentulous jawbones or jaws that are missing or losing all their teeth. It is meant to feel more natural and secure than other full-mouth prostheses as well and was created with the patient's comfort and time in mind. It also uses your jawbone more efficiently than other implant procedures do.
One great advantage to the All-on-4® process is that everything is placed during the same procedure. Here is a basic outline of what to expect if you choose this treatment path:
- An impression is made of your mouth.
- Any necessary numbing occurs.
- The implant posts are imbedded (usually, four total but some individuals require five or six per jaw). Posterior implants are often placed at an angle to maximize bone usage.
- The prosthesis is fitted and fixed onto the implant posts that same day.
Once the prosthesis is secured into place, it is permanently set, so you can and should care for it much as you would natural teeth. Always use the toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash your dentist recommends.
The All-on-4® process in comparison to other options
All-on-4® treatment is not your only option for total jaw dentition replacement. Here is a look at some of the other choices you may have and how they compare to the All-on-4® process.
All-on-4® vs snap-on or removable implant-supported dentures
One of the major differences between All-on-4® and snap-on dentures is that snap-on dentures are removable and All-on-4® are not. Removable implant-supported dentures are often called snap-on because they fasten into place in a snap-like manner. Since snap-ons are removable, they also require additional and different care than All-on-4® prostheses. They generally need to be kept moist while outside the mouth and cleaned using special cleansers. Both artificial structures are secured in place using dental implants, but All-on-4® treatment generally requires a couple more implants.
All-on-4® vs traditional dentures
In comparison to traditional dentures, the major difference between the two is the use of implants. Traditional dentures do not have any supporting pieces in the mouth, which is why many denture patients utilize denture pastes and glues to help keep them from falling out. Similar to snap-on dentures, traditional dentures also need to be maintained differently when not in use. All-on-4® and traditional dentures look similar as they include both artificial teeth and gums. They are both meant to function like natural teeth too, though many find All-on-4® more secure and comfortable.
All-on-4® vs implant-supported bridges
Similar to All-on-4®, implant-supported bridges are permanently-fixed, implant-secured replacements for missing teeth. The main difference is that bridges contain far fewer teeth per prosthetic piece. Implant-supported bridges can be used to replace an entire maxilla or mandible of teeth by using multiple sets, or they can replace a smaller portion of teeth. Often these bridges do not include artificial gumlines, unlike All-on-4®.
All-on-4® vs traditional full-mouth implants
A more extreme and costly procedure is using one implant per missing tooth to replace an entire jaw of teeth. Each implant is fitted with a single tooth prosthetic and requires very precise implant placement to fit correctly. This method also requires very substantial amounts of jawbone to support each implant properly, which might necessitate bone grafts and multiple visits to the dentist. In contrast, All-on-4® requires far fewer implants, maximizes the jawbone present, and regularly takes only one appointment.
All-on-4® is a great option for total mouth rehabilitation and tooth replacement. The procedure requires fewer dental implants, takes fewer appointments, and costs less money than some other total replacement options. Speak with your dentist today to see if this treatment is right for you.
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