Dental implants offer you the chance to have permanent teeth again instead of gaps or dentures that you can lose. If you're missing a lot of teeth or need all the teeth on one jaw replaced, an option called all-on-4 might be good for you. These implants use fewer connections or implant points to hold a full row of prosthetic teeth. That makes restoring your teeth a lot easier, but it also gives the impression that somehow the all-on-4 option might be weaker than regular, tooth-by-tooth implants. That is not the case, however, and all-on-4 implants offer you a big advantage.
What Are All-on-4 Implants?
When you get dental implants, a screw is implanted in the jaw, and a crown is added on top of that. When you're missing a lot of teeth or an entire jaw's worth, the all-on-4 option allows you to have four screws implanted instead of one for each tooth. The row of teeth is then attached to the four screws. You look like you have a full mouth's worth of teeth, but with only a few connection points.
All-on-4 implants, when cared for correctly, can last as long as regular implants – and that can be for an indefinite time.
What Issues Could Affect Their Life Span?
Any implant will have its weaknesses, mainly in terms of care. If you keep trying to bite down on very hard things like ice cubes, you could chip one of the "teeth" in the implant, just as you could chip a regular tooth. And, if you don't brush, the implants could end up looking terrible.
More of a concern, however, is gum health. Gum health is related to bone health, and you must be sure to clean out food that has gotten stuck under the implant. Your oral surgeon will show you how to do this. If you don't – which is the equivalent of not flossing regular teeth – your gums can become inflamed, and you can, over time, start to lose bone in your jaw. That affects the integrity of the implants.
How Do You Care for All-on-4s?
Daily care will remain the same as it is for regular teeth: brush and floss twice a day, and use mouthwash if appropriate. You'll have the added task of flossing under the prosthetic teeth, which will no doubt feel a bit odd at first. You'll get used to it. You'll floss around the implant points and may need a floss threader to help you. Your oral surgeon will show you what to do. And of course, have your teeth cleaned twice a year, and make sure if you see a new dentist, that they know you have all-on-4s.
All-on-4 implants are great when you need a full arch of teeth restored on your jaw. The smaller number of implant points is less traumatic for your jaw and for you. With proper care, your all-on-4s can last for a very long time. To learn more about your options, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons.