Restoring Dental Function: All-on-4 vs. Traditional Dental Implants By Joe McIntyre, DDS on September 27, 2018

All-on-4 implantsDental implants are one of the most effective treatments for one or more missing teeth. The versatility that dental implants offer make them ideal for those who require replacement of an individual tooth, multiple teeth, or a full arch.

Although traditional dental implants may be used to restore the smiles of those who are missing all or most of their teeth, advances in dentistry have led to the development of a special type of dental implant known as All-on-4.

At Smiles for Life Dental Care, our team of dentists consider each patient's needs when deciding between All-on-4 versus traditional dental implant treatment. If you live in or around Harrisonburg, VA and would like to find out which treatment is right for you, please schedule a consultation with one of our dentists today.

All-on-4 Dental Implants Minimize the Number of Implants

All-on-4 dental implant treatment is a system that allows for the replacement of a full set of upper teeth, lower teeth, or both with only four dental implants per arch, whereas traditional dental implants may require as many as 10 per arch.

The All-on-4 system achieves a minimal use of implants by strategically positioning each of the four implants within the jawbone. Once in place, All-on-4 implants can support one or two sets of dentures for restored dental function.

What Makes All-on-4 Dental Implants Unique? 

All-on-4 dental implant treatment is unique from traditional dental implant treatment in a number of ways. One significant way is that implants are placed at an angle toward the back of the jaw to maximize contact between the bone and implant. This allows many All-on-4 patients to avoid the need for bone grafting as is often necessary when placing traditional dental implants.

Traditional Dental Implants Can Replace One or More Teeth

While All-on-4 implants are only used to replace multiple teeth, traditional dental implants are more versatile and may be paired with dental crowns to replace individual teeth, dental bridges to replace multiple teeth, or implant-supported dentures to replace a full set of teeth. When used to anchor a set of dentures within the mouth, many patients require five or more implants per arch.

Traditional Dental Implant Treatment Is a Lengthy Process

The process for placing traditional dental implants is lengthy and may begin with sinus augmentation or bone grafting to rebuild the bone structure. This may be necessary when tooth loss has persisted for years. If bone grafting and sinus augmentation are performed, patients must wait several weeks or months before traditional dental implants may be placed.

Once it is time to place the dental implants, a second surgery will be needed to attach the implants within the jawbone. The jawbone must then be given time to heal and bond with the implants. That means it can take up to six months before the final dental restoration can be placed.

As you can see, traditional dental implants, while effective for missing teeth, require a lengthy treatment time before the restoration is attached.

Choosing Between All-on-4 and Traditional Dental Implants

Both All-on-4 and traditional dental implants provide secure, natural feeling replacement of missing teeth, allowing denture wearers to enjoy better dental function by keeping their dentures firmly anchored within the mouth. Although both treatments provide similar results, the right treatment will depend on the unique needs of each patient.

For example, those who have experienced significant bone loss as a result of long-term tooth loss may require bone grafting and sinus augmentation before traditional dental implants may be placed. These patients may be better suited to All-on-4 dental implants because they can often be placed without grafts.

All-on-4 implants minimize the number of implants needed to support a full set of upper or lower dentures, reducing surgical and recovery time so patients that wish to avoid a lengthy recovery may prefer All-on-4 dental implants.

Find out Which Treatment Is Right for You

For more information about All-on-4 implants or traditional dental implants, please call (540) 828-2312 to schedule a consultation today.

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Dentists at Smiles for Life Dental Care

Smiles for Life Dental Care

The team of highly trained doctors at Smiles for Life wants to help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime. Because we want every patient to have access to the advanced treatments offered at our practice, we accept many insurance and financing options, including: 

  • Medicare 
  • Compassionate Finance™
  • CareCredit®
  • LendingClub®
  • Smile Rewards 

To get started, call our Bridgewater office at (540) 828-2312 or request an appointment online.

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