All-on-4 Dental Implants Make It Possible for Most Patients to Avoid Having Dentures
If you are one of the 178 million Americans who have lost one or more teeth, you have probably heard about the advantages of dental implants to replace them.
The Impact and Solution for Missing Teeth
You cannot simply ignore missing teeth because the jaw begins to adapt to the loss to restore your bite as best as it can and in the process the socket where the tooth was shrinks, setting up a chain reaction that leads to other teeth gradually becoming loose. Unless this process is stopped, eventually enough teeth fall out or have to be extracted so that you would need a denture. That only slows down the bone loss, which is why a denture needs to be readjusted after a number of years to fit the decreasing jawbone.
If you think it’s no big deal because you have just lost a single tooth, that is no doubt what so many others believed: Americans ages 39 to 49 are already missing an average of three teeth and those 50-64 have lost an average of five, while 26% who are 75 or older are toothless (technically known as edentulous). Over 90% of the latter wear dentures, which can be uncomfortable, make it hard to chew, result in not being able to speak clearly, and do not give your facial structure support. Dentures can also be trouble to keep clean.
Having a dental implant replace a missing tooth is the best way you can stop jaw erosion and avoid having to wear dentures. However, it usually requires a healthy jawbone because an implant screw needs to be inserted to anchor a dental crown (which looks like the visible part of a tooth) into the jaw.
Challenges and Solutions in Dental Implants
Not everyone can immediately qualify for single or multiple implants: those who are heavy smokers, anyone whose diabetes is not under control, someone suffering from severe osteoporosis, and patients who have recently had radiation or chemotherapy for cancer.
Where a patient’s sinuses have dropped too near the upper arch, this can prevent having implants, but these cases can often be remedied with a sinus lift or a bone graft (though not everyone can qualify for a graft; a full oral examination and a digital x-ray are required to determine this).
Recently, another option has become popular for those who lack enough bone to have many individual implants inserted. This is a dental platform known as All-on-4. As WebMD explains, this requires just four implants to anchor 8 to 16 dental crowns or a combination of crowns and real teeth that are still in place on the lower or the upper arch. Two of the implants are in the front and two angled ones are in the back (placing them at a 45° angle enables your implant specialist to avoid areas that lack sufficient bone).
Professional Care and Comfort for Successful Dental Implants
But very few dentists are truly qualified to do any type of dental implant because this requires specialized surgical experience. At Wilshire Smile Studio, we are one of the few very practices to have an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has a lot of experience with implants and every other type of dental surgery, including full mouth reconstructions. Our periodontist is also highly qualified to place implants.
The really good news is that implants are painless, since we offer a whole range of anesthetics and sedatives, from nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) and local injections to pain-preventing pills and even intravenous (IV) drips.