What is an All-On-Four Dental Implant

What is an All-On-Four Dental Implant?

Realizing you need dentures can be a daunting thought but you have a few choices which make treatment easier and better suited to your individual needs and lifestyle. An all-on-four implant denture is a full, fixed denture that is used to replace all of the teeth on one or both arches of your mouth. A fixed appliance simply means that the denture is not able to be removed by the patient, it requires a dentist to unscrew the denture from the implants.

An oral surgeon or periodontist will place four or more implants for your denture to screw onto. Traditional removable dentures can be uncomfortable and challenging to take care of. If you are a good candidate for dental implants, you might be interested in an all-on-four dental implant-supported denture.

What is an all-on-four denture?
As an implant-supported denture, your all-on-four relies on support from four or more dental implants. A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is surgically placed into your jaw bone by an oral surgeon and acts as the root of a missing tooth. A healing cap is placed over the screw to protect the implant site while it heals for up to six months. Titanium implants are able to integrate with your jaw bone to ensure maximum stability.

Once you are fully healed, restoration can begin! For an individual implant, an abutment is placed directly onto the implant and an implant crown is either screwed or cemented onto the abutment.

In the case of an all-on-four denture, 4 to 8 implants are placed on the arch being treated. Instead of individual crowns being placed on each implant, an all-on-four uses a titanium framework with multiple teeth to restore one or both arches.

Your dentist will fabricate a temporary denture for you to wear while your implant sites heal for about six months. During this healing time, eating will need to return to basics! It is important to cut everything and not bite into anything. Soft foods are your friend and will help keep your temporary denture in good shape. After you are fully healed, your dentist will have you back to place your permanent denture.

How do I know if an all-on-four is right for me?
As with any dental restoration, your first conversation should be with your dentist to determine if you are a candidate for the treatment you desire. It is important to communicate to your dentist exactly what you are looking for from your new smile. A treatment planning consultation is a great way to discuss your needs and the feasibility of an all on four denture. Dental implants are not cheap so this appointment will allow you to discuss financial arrangements as well. Dental insurance may cover a small portion of your treatment but keep in mind that you likely have a maximum amount of benefits your insurance will pay out per year.

Leaving missing teeth untreated can actually lead to jaw bone deterioration and can eventually change the structure and overall appearance of your face. Implants help maintain the integrity of your jaw bone and prevent future issues. Ask your dentist if an all-on-four is appropriate for you!