All-on-4 implants are making headlines for their ability to combine the best features of both traditional dentists and cutting edge dental implants. At our practice, we’ve noted the rise in All-on-4 treatments. Many patients interested in this kind of full mouth treatment are also rightfully concerned about the lifespan of the system. Since this treatment is still so new, there is only limited data on how the All-on-4 implants wear over time. Only one study from 2011 comprehensively addressed this question, and no new research has been released since. Still, the information that is available is promising, with 95% of implants surviving the first 10 years. There are also plenty of well-established ways to preserve your All-on-4 implants after having them installed.


All-on-4 Is Made from Two Parts – Dentures & Implants

Before estimating the life expectancy of this unique dental system, consider the separate parts of the All-on-4 design. Four titanium dental implant anchors form the first part of the system, and these anchors are generally shown to last the lifetime of the patient when properly installed. However, the dentures that attach to those anchors to form a full mouth replacement are known to have a limited life expectancy. Dentists recommend that patients replace individual implant crowns every 10 to 15 years, and dentures offer a similar lifespan. It’s unknown if attaching the dentures to the All-on-4 implants will change the expected lifespan of either part. Only studies showing the results of real life use of All-on-4 systems can truly estimate the life expectancy of the equipment.


What Does the Data Say?

The most comprehensive study on All-on-4 durability dates back to 2011. It took the form of a longitudinal study that followed 245 patients who received All-on-4 implants for a period of 10 years. After five years, 98% of the implants were still holding strong and working well for the patients. 95% of the patients didn’t experience even a single implant failure. At the end of the 10 year period, 95% of the implants were intact and 94% of the patients had avoided any failures at all. Since all dental implants come with a small chance of rejection or failure, this success rate is better than expected for a new type of treatment. The dentures attached to the implants fared even better over the 10 years, with 99% of them still in good shape.

A second study was completed in 2012 that was slightly less comprehensive. This study tracked a similar number of patients for only 5 years and returned results of a 98% implant success rate. The success rate for the dentures was a full 100%. Dr. Paulo Malo, the first dentist to use the All-on-4 treatment back in 1998, was involved in both studies to ensure his techniques were worth introducing to the wider dental world. Both studies resulted in clinical implications that implant supported dentures were a viable long-term solution for patients in need of a full mouth restoration technique. It’s not possible to promise that the system can last beyond 10 years since that’s the limit on the existing research, but it’s safe to say that patients should experience relatively few complications with both the implants and dentures over the course of their life.


Tips to Make them Last Longer

The same techniques that help expand the lifespan of implant mounted crowns and traditional dentures will work to prevent a problem with your All-on-4 implants. If there is a break in the dentures, replacing the prosthesis is relatively easy. Failures of the dental implants are more difficult to overcome, so use these tips to avoid an anchor break or jaw bone rejection.

  • Choose the right dentist: A dentist who is experienced in dental implants, especially the new All-on-4 technique, has the skill to help you avoid almost all of the common causes of implant rejection.
  • Focus on the maintenance of your teeth: The better you take care of your dentures and your overall oral health, the fewer chances you’ll have for damage or rejection. Dentures and implants don’t negate the need for daily brushing and rinsing. Taking care of your remaining teeth while you consider an All-on-4 procedure also helps maintain healthy jaw bone tissue to increase the chances of a successful implant surgery.
  • Improve your overall health: Conditions that affect your circulation, immune system, or healing rate will also affect your implants. Most patients that are seeking All-on-4 implants have serious dental issues that may make it hard to eat. Eating soft and processed foods may reduce your oral pain, but it can also lead to a loss of bone density in the jaw that interferes with the implant surgery. Taking the time to improve your diet, deal with blood sugar or circulation issues, and generally improve your health will pay off by reducing the chances of a dental implant failure.
  • Pick a tough material for the dentures: If you want your dentures to last as long as possible, avoid plastic and acrylic materials. Zirconia and porcelain offer much better durability, especially if you’re keeping your upper or lower set of natural teeth. Natural teeth are very hard on plastic or acrylic denture and bridge materials, but porcelain and zirconia can withstand their abrasive forces without damaging the enamel in turn.
  • Stop smoking and avoid drinking alcohol: Both smoking and drinking alcohol causes dry mouth. A healthy supply of saliva is essential for strong gums and fast healing after implant surgery. Even picking up a smoking or drinking habit years after you’ve healed will stain your dentures and could cause rejection issues with the implants.
  • Switch your diet: You’ll need to eat only soft foods during the first three months after surgery so the implants can bond properly with the bone tissue in your jaw. To help you get through it, we’ve together a list of foods that are safe to eat post-surgery as well as some menu ideas. After that point, avoid eating hard or sticky foods that could push or pull on the implants and potentially break them. Don’t stick to soft foods exclusively though since the bone tissue of the jaws does need the stimulation of chewing to keep from shrinking away around the implant posts. A healthy diet of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and shelled nuts will provide both the nutrients you need for good overall health and bone stimulation from moderate chewing forces.
  • Treat teeth grinding first: Grinding your teeth can wear away natural tooth material, so naturally it is also damaging to the materials used for dentures. The forces exerted on the implants as you grind also increases the chances of a break or failure. If you can’t eliminate the grinding habit at night, make sure your dentist fits you for a custom night guard that accommodates the size and shape of the dentures.


With a little care, your All-on-4 implants and dentures will definitely last at least a decade and, likely, much longer. Schedule an appointment with us here at Bunker Hill Dentistry if you’d like to learn more.