If you suffer from a periodontal disease, bone atrophy, or severe tooth loss from any other reason, you will know what I’m talking about: it can be rather discouraging to know that dental implants (a new revolutionary dental technology your friends are talking about) cannot solve your problem. Or to put it differently, the number of implants you would need is big, it’s costly, the operation you imagine would be pretty painful and the process of healing too long. It is true, separate dental implants for a full-arch restoration involve rather time-consuming and complex procedures (maybe even bone grafting!).
And jet, the other possible solution is also unsatisfying. It comes in the form of traditional dentures. Let’s be honest, they provide limited success in replacing your teeth: they may be ill-fitted, cumbersome, instable, and inadequate for normal chewing… You don’t want to imagine yourself wearing them for a lifetime.
Fortunately, we live in exciting times of medical and technological innovations, so your “final solution” doesn’t have to be in form of numerous partial implants nor the denture. The method you need is called All on 4.
All on 4 requires 4 implants placed in your jawbones (upper and/or lower jaw). A full dental prosthetic bridge will then be anchored into those implants. It is quite impressive that only 4 implants can carry a full arch, but it is their position that enables this miracle.
Your new permanent lifelike prosthetic teeth will then function, and look, just like the real teeth. Which means that you can maintain them with the same hygiene practices as your natural teeth, chew the solid food again and have a youthful appearance. For most, that means the ability to function normally. All on 4 method also means that no bone extension, which was often inevitable for people with very few or no natural teeth, is necessary anymore.
To explain how the whole stuff functions, let me first remind you what dental implants are. A dental implant is a small, screw-shaped piece of (mostly) titanium implanted in your jawbone, beneath the gum, to replaces the root of a missing tooth. Since they are made of materials such as titanium, implants have a unique ability to fuse to bone.
After implants are inserted into the jawbone during a surgical procedure, fixed bridges (prosthetics) can be attached to them.
All on 4 achieved to satisfy two recently irreconcilable conditions – to reduce the time and the complexity of the procedure. The first refers to a momentary placement of the bridge, just after the implanting surgery. The second for example means that All in 4 procedure excludes the need of sinus lifting (in cases of lowered sinuses), because side dental implants are now placed under 45% to avoid the area of lowered sinus. I.e. All in 4 will reduce the time and the cost of the operation, not to mention it will be less painful.
Technically, it is possible to have the whole operation done in only one day, with only few incisions. I guess this is a good news.
Pic: “06-10-06smile” by dozenist – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:06-10-06smile.jpg#/media/File:06-10-06smile.jpg