All-on-four dental implants, sometimes also called implant overdentures or implant-supported-overdentures, are the rapid and real solution for people who have lost all or most of a row of teeth. That’s good news and, if you’ve lost teeth due to trauma or have had them extracted due to an oral health situation, you’re probably anxious to get them replaced quickly for several excellent reasons. You may not understand, however, just why all-on-four implants are superior to the older solution: overdentures not supported by implants. 

Dental Implants vs. Standard Dentures

If you’re at risk of losing one or both rows of your teeth or already have, you’re probably already very concerned with social stigma and may also worry about the ability to chew food properly, but other issues are less obvious. In particular, being fully or partially edentulous (dental terminology for toothless) puts you at risk of severe level bone loss in the jaw. This is as bad as it sounds. It can lead to repeated outbreaks of painful gum disease while changing a patient’s facial appearance in ways they won’t like. It may also increase the odds of having to deal with a wide range of serious health risks including heart disease and strokes.

While good traditional overdentures that cover an entire row of teeth can be a huge help in terms of appearance and nutrition and are vastly better than leaving them as is, these standard dental prosthetics do nothing to lessen bone loss. Individual dental implants, on the other hand, replace the lost roots of teeth and make contact with the jawbone just like a natural tooth. Long-term studies are now confirming what dental experts have long known: dental implants are safe and effective in terms of both replacing teeth and significantly reducing bone loss.*

While nothing is more important than your health, there are also important advantages in terms of convenience and quality of life. Dentures not supported by implants may tend to loosen while the wearer is talking or eating, which can create an embarrassing hassle. Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, are as stable and natural looking as the teeth we’re born with when it comes to chewing or talking.

All-on-Four: A Manageable Solution

Ideally, every lost tooth would be replaced by a separate oral surgery for each implant but, the more teeth have been lost, the more expensive and time-consuming the process may become. Even more important, standard dental implants require a certain amount of bone mass. Patients who may have already lost too much bone density to support the implants may need a bone graft before receiving the implants. That can work very well for a few implants. Generally speaking, however, people who have lost most or all of their teeth simply can’t manage to amount of time and cost involved in emplacing implants one by one.

Implant-supported overdentures solve these problems in two ways. First, they replace an entire row of teeth in a single procedure. On top of that, all-on-four oral surgery is less invasive and requires less bone mass, so bone grafts are usually not needed. They are also more convenient in that they never have to come out and are cared for in the same way one cares for natural teeth with regular brushing and flossing. For most patients with severe tooth loss, there’s no question that these one-and-done implant procedures are the best solution.

Are There Any Downsides to All-on-Four?

Every procedure has pros and cons and all-on-four dental implants are no exception. The main difference between this approach and individual implants is that, while each implant is more or less identical to a real tooth, the all-on-four structure is different. It may, therefore, feel somewhat unfamiliar and bulky compared to natural teeth. However, during the healing process, patients get used to their all-on-four implant/overdenture within a short time. 

Preparing for All-on-Four 

Our team will provide you with detailed instructions on what to do before this simple oral surgery to ensure a safe and successful procedure, but here are a few details.

It will be necessary to arrange to have a designated adult pick you up and take you home following the procedure. Premier Dental Care always offers sedation dentistry. An all-on-four is a fairly extensive procedure and, regardless of the patient and doctors’ choice of anesthetic, patients will always need someone to take them home following oral surgery. If a patient is the only adult at home, they will typically also need some help for a brief time after their procedure in terms of taking care of normal household duties – especially if any young children are at home. 

It will also be important to make sure soft food is available to eat for the first few days following the procedure. Yogurt, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, mashed fruits, and vegetables as well as smoothies will all be good choices for the first portion of recovery from the all-on-four procedure. Our team of oral health experts will provide you with advice on transitioning to more solid food and what is safe to eat at various points in your recovery.

Before being discharged from our office, we will also provide you with prescriptions to ensure a smooth recovery. Some discomfort and swelling are to be expected but most of it should be manageable with normal self-care and over-the-counter painkillers. Patients will be able to resume their normal routine within two or three days in most cases and, while you should expect some swelling and discomfort following the procedure, most of it should subside within a few days. While complete recovery will take a matter of months, patients’ mouths should feel more or less back to normal within a couple of weeks.

Regain Your Smile – Start Today!

Replacing multiple lost teeth is much more than a matter of cosmetics or convenience; it’s an urgent matter to protect your long-term health and quality of life. If you have lost all or most of a row of teeth due to oral health problems or trauma, Premier Care Dental Group is here to help you. Call us at the number on your screen or reach out by email at [email protected].