If you've heard the expression before, but never quite knew what is meant by all-on-4 dental implants, you've come to the right place. All-on-4 implants are similar to conventional dental implants, but instead of replacing one or two missing teeth, they can replace an entire arch of upper or lower teeth, using just four implants. This is significant, because it normally requires one implant for each missing tooth, so replacing all of your upper or lower teeth with just four implants represents a major improvement and cost savings over conventional implant procedures.
The four implants installed in your jaw act as the support for a complete arch of upper or lower teeth, and these implants don't usually require the same amount of robust jawbone in order to be effective. The key discovery which enabled the possibility of using just four implants was tilting the posterior posts at a 45-degree angle. The posts in front are installed in the normal erect manner. Since this is a less invasive technique for installing titanium posts, it generally does not require as long for the titanium posts to fuse with the jaw, so teeth replacement can proceed.
The first step in the process is to have a consultation with your dentist, to find out whether or not you're a good candidate for All-on-4 implants. At this time, it may be necessary to take x-rays or other exams to determine the patient's total state of health. The patient will also be interviewed about their expectations and goals before proceeding to the next step.
It will be necessary to take some precise measurements of the patient's mouth, to determine the height of the patient's gums, the extent of an underbite or overbite, and whether or not any ridge reduction will be necessary. Bite impressions will then be taken of the upper and lower jaws, and wax dentures will be created for temporary use.
As surgery begins, the dentist will again measure points in the mouth precisely, so as to ensure that all distances are maintained before and after surgery. Then the patient will be sedated, and the gumline will be cut so as to expose the jawbone. The titanium posts will be inserted one at a time in each of the four locations, and the gum tissue will be replaced so all incisions can be closed again.
All-on-4 dental implant cost will generally run somewhere between $12,000 and $50,000, so it will be important for you to determine whether or not you can get any insurance coverage or not before proceeding. The wide difference in costs is due to several factors, for instance if any kind of preparatory work is necessary before the implants get installed. Prep work can include extraction of teeth, restoration of jawbone, or any other kind of dental work required before surgery. The cost will also be dependent to some degree on your geographic location in the country, and the skill level of your dental professional.
As you might expect, the pictures associated with before and after times for dental implants are massively different. Pictures taken before implants are installed will show patients who have no teeth at all displayed in their upper or lower arch, or there may be some still there which are scheduled for removal. Pictures taken after implants have been installed will show the two implants in front and two in back, with an otherwise empty arch. Once the procedure has been completed - pictures will reveal a brand new smile, and a healthy-looking mouth again.
Keep in mind that any problems associated with all-on-4 implants are rare and do not generally cause significant issues. In fact, the procedure is so effective that it has a solid success rate of almost 98% - which makes it one of the most successful of all dental operations. However, here are some potential problems which have cropped up in the past:
For the most part, you can expect that after you have all-on-4 dental implants installed, you'll be on your way to having a great-looking smile again, and teeth that look and feel normal in all your daily activities.