November 30, 2020 Tri Le Did you know there’s a way to replace up to an entire set of teeth with tailor-made prostheses that look and function like the real thing, and it’s not dentures? All-on-4 dental implants use cutting-edge medical technology to replace lost or damaged teeth and give you a brand new smile, permanently. We wouldn’t offer All-on-4s if we didn’t fully believe they are an amazing solution with a variety of benefits, such as: There’s no need to remove them daily. All-on-4s stimulate the jawbone, which maintains the strength of the bone and keeps it from atrophying. Typically there’s no need for bone grafts, because the doctor can select a placement site with ample jawbone for the handful of implants. But we want you to be fully informed before deciding on treatment, so read on to see both the advantages and reported drawbacks of All-on-4 dental implants. As you’ll see, the drawbacks of All-on-4 implants are relatively minor, and the vast majority of patients come away thrilled with their new smile. All-on-4 Advantages & Disadvantages – Overview Pros Cons High Success Rate Multiple studies have found a patient success rate of roughly 94 percent after 10 years Potential Temporary Speech Difficulties Some patients report difficulty pronouncing certain words or letters with the temporary prosthesis Fast Treatment Surgery, implant placement and bone grafting (if required) happen in one session High cost All-on-4 implants typically cost $12,000-$20,000 per arch Quick and Easy Healing Process Patients can typically return to normal activities after 3 days Tender Gums Any tenderness will pass within a matter of weeks Few Long-term Dietary Restrictions Very few foods will be off-limits once you’ve healed from surgery Poor Hygiene Complications Poor hygiene can lead to additional health problems around the implants Easy Care Routine Brushing twice daily and flossing are all you need to keep your natural teeth and prosthetic teeth and gums healthy Gum Color Mismatch This is a rare occurrence, however, and most patients emerge from surgery happy with the aesthetics of their new smile Improved Confidence All-on-4s give you a great looking smile without the self-conscious worries of owning dentures Risk of Failed Implant Occurs in roughly 5% of patients Improved Eating and Speaking Speaking is more natural and the eating experience is improved as All-on-4s don’t conceal your soft palate All-on-4 Pros High Success Rate The All-on-4 treatment is one of the most effective oral surgeries in use today. Multiple studies have found a patient success rate of roughly 94 percent after 10 years, with the prosthesis’ survival rate a whopping 98.8 percent after 18 years! Speed of Treatment They don’t call the All-on-4 treatment “Teeth in a Day” for nothing. Although technically the entire process of oral exam and custom-fabricating the prosthesis takes a few weeks, the surgery, implant placement, and any bone grafting is all done in a single day. At about two hours per arch, the surgery is minimally invasive and done with the aid of anesthesia. Quick and Easy Healing Process The nature of the All-on-4 treatment allows for much faster healing time than with traditional dentures, which can take months to recover from. Most patients are able to return to work after a few days without the need for any strong medication. And the implants begin fusing to your jawbone from day one, making them extremely secure, so there’s no pain from rubbing like you might experience with traditional dentures. Few Long-term Dietary Restrictions While you’ll need to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods for at least the first few weeks after your procedure, when it comes to the long term, you’ll be free to eat virtually whatever you like. All-on-4s deliver upwards of 80% of chewing power compared with natural teeth, meaning very few foods will be off-limits once you’ve healed from surgery and had your permanent prosthesis placed. Requires Only Regular Dental Hygiene Routine Traditional dentures have to be removed, cleaned, and stored with special care. All-on-4 implants, however, create no new dental chores for you. Brushing thoroughly twice daily and flossing (with superfloss) or using a waterpik are all you need to keep your natural teeth and prosthetic teeth and gums healthy. Improved Confidence Anything that improves your self-confidence is good for your overall health, because confidence is a positive emotion, and positive emotions carry numerous health benefits and help you live longer. Smiling is intrinsically tied to both self-confidence and positive emotion, so if you’re not happy with your smile, you’re going to be less happy, period! All-on-4s give you a great looking smile without the self-conscious worries of owning dentures that they will come loose or fall out. Improved Eating and Speaking Speaking of confidence, you’ll be speaking more confidently, too! Unlike dentures, which are glued onto the gums, All-on-4s are screwed into the bone, making speaking more natural. The eating experience is improved as well, as All-on-4s don’t conceal your soft palate, a common complaint of denture wearers because it hinders their taste sensation considerably. All-on-4 Cons The majority of All-on-4 cons relate to temporary afflictions or complications arising from inadequate care and maintenance. Here are the complaints some patients have voiced about All-on-4 restorations: Speaking Difficulty Some patients report difficulty pronouncing certain words or letters such as “D” or “F.” This may be due to air flowing through space in between the gums and prosthesis, or the teeth being placed too far forward or too far back. Either cause can be fixed by the time we create and place your final prosthesis, after your mouth integrates the new implants for six months. High Cost Although the costs vary around the country and each patient is different, All-on-4 implants typically cost $12,000-$20,000 per arch. While this may seem expensive at first blush, it’s important to remember that All-on-4 treatment involves surgery, anesthesia, and possibly bone grafting, and that it’s a permanent solution for multiple missing or damaged teeth. Your dental insurance may cover a portion of the fee, and we offer convenient financing options, as well. Tender Gums Tenderness at the point of an incision goes with the territory for any surgery, and All-on-4 is no different. Until the implant sites fully heal, you can expect to have some tenderness there, especially while eating. This is perfectly normal and will pass within a matter of weeks, leaving you to enjoy your new teeth more and more with each passing day. At your appointment, we will discuss with you what to eat and what to avoid after surgery to aid the recovery process. Poor Hygiene Complications All-on-4 implants don’t require special dental hygiene activities, but they do require the same care you’re supposed to be providing to your natural teeth. If you don’t provide it, in addition to the other health problems you could experience, you could develop a condition called peri-implantitis, inflammation in the gums and bone loss around the implant. If left untreated long enough, your All-on-4 could fail. In other words, if you chew tobacco or have bad oral hygiene, you could develop a variety of dental problems, and this remains true whether or not you have an All-on-4 treatment. Gum Color Mismatch Although the All-on-4 is created with an artificial gum designed to match the color of your natural gums, close observers may be able to note a slight difference in the two. This is a rare occurrence, however, and most patients emerge from surgery quite happy with the aesthetics of their new smile. Risk of Failed Implant It’s not known why this happens, but in roughly 5 percent of patients the implants don’t fuse with the bone and the treatment fails. This only has to happen on one of the implants, because if one is loose the entire system must be replaced. However, replacing the implants usually resolves the issue. Verdict: All-on-4 is an All-Star Treatment Bearing in mind that no medical remedy is perfect, All-on-4 is an excellent combination of cost-effectiveness, terrific aesthetics, speedy treatment, mild after-effects, and long-term results. More than 9 out of 10 patients agree, All-on-4 is the best way to replace lost or missing teeth and start smiling again. Want to find out more about All-on-4s? Learn about our All-on-4 implant services in Houston or call Bunker Hill Dentistry today at 832-834-5281 for an appointment and hear why this treatment may be right for you. 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.