Patients who wear dentures for several years will lose a significant amount of bone in their jaws during that time. They may notice that their original appliances no longer fit and need to be re-lined or replaced. Some patients may want to upgrade to dental implants, but bone loss can present an obstacle to dental implant placement, as this process requires enough bone to support the osseointegration of the implants.
Fortunately, an oral surgeon can use a technique known as All-on-4 to help long-term denture wearers upgrade to dental implants. With this approach, only four dental implants are needed to anchor the prosthetic arch. The outer two implants are angled underneath the gum line in a way that allows them to support the weight of the entire rear portion of the denture.
The oral surgeon places those four dental implants toward the front of the jaw. The bone erodes more slowly in that area, so most patients will be good candidates for this treatment even if they’ve had some bone loss in the thinner rear portion of the jaw.
Because only four implants are needed, the placement procedure is completed in just a few hours. For this reason, it is also called teeth in a day. Indeed, patients can be fitted with at least a temporary appliance at the end of that appointment, fully restoring their smile in a single session.
All-on-4 gives patients a number of benefits. First of all, it prevents further jawbone atrophy. Not only do the dental implants secure the appliance, but they also help to preserve the integrity of the bone, much in the same way that biological teeth’s roots do. Also, an implant-supported denture is more effective at chewing because the bond between bone and implant allows it to withstand stronger chewing forces.
If you have experienced jawbone atrophy after several years of wearing dentures, call us to schedule a consultation at our office to learn more about All-on-4 so that you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.