Those who have lost a tooth or teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or degenerative conditions such as periodontal disease often have the option of having implants placed. Dental implants mimic the functionality and appearance of natural teeth, and observers often cannot tell the difference between the two. The ideal candidate for implants is in relatively good health and has sufficient bone material in the jaw to be able to hold the implants. However, alternatives are available for those who lack the necessary bone material for traditional implants.
Implants can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or even all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth. Dental technology has advanced greatly in recent years, and one of the options currently available to patients is called “All-on-4” implants. As their name implies, this procedure involves 4 titanium implants that attach to a full arch of teeth. The reason titanium is commonly used for dental implants is because it’s a strong, durable material that bonds easily to bone tissues, thanks to its biocompatibility with the cellular structure of humans.
What Are All-on-4 Dental Implants?
All-on-4 implants are fixed dental bridges that hold four crowns in place — and in certain circumstance, they can hold as many as six crowns. This option is best as an alternative to dentures for those who have lost a significant amount of teeth. These are often much better than individual implants however, only a dental professional like Dr. Ward, can tell you for sure whether they are the right option for you. This is a relatively new technology, so it’s important to have a thorough examination by a dental health professional, like Dr. Ward, who has substantial experience performing implant procedures. Dr. Ward holds the highest credential as a Board Certified Implantologist. Making the mistake of going to a dentist who doesn’t have expertise in implant technology may have less than ideal results. Keep in mind, that many dental practices are currently offering all-on-4 services without having significant experience with them. Implants that have not been correctly placed may result in misalignment, increased gum sensitivity, problems with chewing and speech, and substantial discomfort.
Advantages of All-on-4 Implants
One of the major advantages of all-on-4 implants is that you’ll only have to undergo one surgery to have a full set of teeth — you would need several surgeries if each crown were to have its own individual implant. The implants are placed securely in the jawbone to ensure that they won’t shift or come loose. These types of implants are generally less invasive than multiple single tooth implants because they use fewer materials and take less overall time to place.
What to Expect
All-on-4 implants involve minimally invasive surgery that is performed in Dr. Ward’s office. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized procedure and preparation, the overall length of time, and how long it takes to recover will depend on a variety of factors — no two people have the exact same experience. Dr. Ward may prescribe antibiotics for several days prior to the surgery to minimize chances of infection. Dr. Ward will use IV sedation to assist in numbing your mouth. He will also provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts for the night before and the morning of your surgery.
How to Care for Your Implants
You should practice good oral hygiene after your implants are placed, such as brushing and flossing twice per day. Special dental floss designed for use by those with implants is available, and some patients use oral irrigation devices to optimize their home oral hygiene routine. Dr. Ward may recommend using a low-abrasive toothpaste and using an interdental brush to access difficult-to-reach places. It’s also recommended that you schedule regular cleanings with his hygienist for checkups. These cleanings require a different technique and tools than those used in traditional cleanings — otherwise, the surface of your new crowns may be scratched or damaged in some way.
Are All-on-4 Implants Right for You?
Only a dental care professional, like Dr. Ward, can answer this question for sure. However, if you’re in fairly good health, you’re probably a good candidate. Dr. Ward may advise you to give up any destructive personal habits such as overindulging in alcohol, tobacco, or consuming significant amounts of sugar prior to the procedure.
Chris Ward, DDS – Implant Specialist
Chris Ward holds the highest possible implantology credential — he’s a board-certified Dental Implantologist with a dedication to excellence. Please feel free to contact our office at your convenience to schedule a free consultation to determine whether all-on-4 implants are right for you. 918-274-4466.