January 18, 2019 Tri Le All-on-4 is a type of dental implant that may be right for you if you’ve been told that traditional implants are not possible. Many men and women need this type of implant because they are missing all or most of the teeth in the lower or upper jaw. Some people may not be a candidate for traditional implants because of the condition of their oral health. With All-on-4, you may be able to have the long-lasting (how long? Find out), beautiful tooth replacement you desire. A key concern for many people is a loss of bone. If you have a significantly lower bone density in your jaw, you may not be able to support the style and function of traditional dental implants. However, All-on-4 may offer another option for you. All-on-4 provides an important difference. It is faster to implant than traditional implants. It is best for those who have lost all of their teeth. Additionally, this method is less invasive and requires fewer prep procedures before putting it into place. For total tooth loss, this method also tends to be more affordable than other options. When considering it, realize there are three main tooth materials to choose from with All-on-4: Acrylic Porcelain Zirconia There is no one material that is best for all patients. Rather, it is important for your dental care provider to completely understand your oral health before making a recommendation. Acrylic With acrylic implants, a bar (usually made from titanium) connects the implants. This is considered the traditional option and was the first product available. This method is best for people that do not clench or grind their teeth. It is the least expensive option and the easiest to fix if necessary. It is available in various sizes and shapes. And, it has a softer bite than other products, which creates a natural feel. However, it does not have the aesthetics of other products. They tend not to last as long either. They can wear down and require a bit of maintenance over their lifetime. Porcelain Porcelain is another option in these implants. They are implants, but they are designed much like the traditional crown and bridge style. As a result, they last a long time and continue to look good for a longer period of time than other products. Another key benefit is that they can be customized to fit just about any style. There are a few drawbacks. For example, they can be expensive and require a skilled and experienced provider to ensure the best results. If there is damage and a break occurs, it can be difficult to repair. Still, they look good compared to other products. Zirconia A third option in these implants is zirconia. This is a newer material to the line up, but it offers some key benefits. For example, it is a very strong and durable option that is less likely to become damaged. They can look beautiful, but this depends on the overall skill of the dental provider. It takes a significant amount of experience to create a beautiful look. They can be customized as well. A drawback to this particular option is that they are expensive and hard to repair if they do break. Some people do not like the sound that occurs when biting down. Which Material Is Best? It can be difficult to label one of these materials better than others. The best material is the result of joint decision-making by the dental provider and the patient. When it comes to durability, zirconia is the strongest material available. All things being equal, this material should last the longest. However, durability is dependent on many factors, such as how well you take care of them, your overall health, your genetic makeup, and the cleaning recall frequency. If you grind your teeth or clench them, this can limit the lifespan of any of these dental implants, too. Smoking can discolor them and damage the gums. When choosing which All-on-4 product is best for you, the skill and experience of the dentist matters. For example, if a highly skilled dentist installs acrylic implants, it is possible that they will look fantastic compared to a lesser skilled dentist installing porcelain. It is always important to turn to a provider you can trust to provide the very best quality. The product matters, too. For aesthetics, zirconia bridges and acrylics can look very beautiful, while others find that zirconia can look less natural. This really depends on what your goals are. Durability and the way the implants look is important. However, the decision between any product is one that must come down to the personal needs of the patient. It’s a complex process that the right dental care provider will not rush. The Best Material Is One that Works Best for a Patient When choosing the best material, it comes down to what works best for your individual needs and goals. A few aspects to consider include: Your Opposing Teeth – What are the teeth opposing the dental implants like? Are they dentures, acrylic hybrids, natural teeth, or zirconia? It’s important to choose products that complement each other, not just in looks but also in function. Grinders – For those who grind their teeth, some materials, such as acrylic, are simply not going to work well. They become damaged too quickly, limiting their effectiveness. Your Budget – There is no doubt some products are more expensive, especially porcelain and zirconia. Acrylic is more affordable and can work well in the hands of the right dentist. Your Age – Zirconia lasts longer, which means that if you are younger, buying these could mean the dental implants do not need to be replaced so soon. Your Oral Health – Your dentist also needs to consider whether or not the implants are being placed into regenerated bone as well as the spread of your implants. Reason for Tooth Loss – If you have oral health concerns, such as cavities and gum disease that brought you to this point, they must be taken into consideration. Because so many variables exist, many dentists choose hybrid materials. In some situations, it may be best to mix materials depending on what is being done. In a case where both the upper and lowers will be installed, it may be beneficial to install zirconia along the top and acrylic along the bottom. The key here is to work with a dentist that knows and understands all of these factors and can offer the right recommendation for your needs. Tri LeA practicing dentist since 1987, Dr. Le has been running successful dental practices in Texas with his wife Ann since 1990. A member of the ADA, AACD and AADSM, Dr. Le has also contributed to several leading dental journals.