Many individuals are not eligible for standard dental implants due to significant bone loss. Fortunately, the All-on-4® treatment concept is an advanced solution for patients with jawbone atrophy.
Our doctors perform this procedure at Smiles for Life, a trusted practice that serves families in Staunton, VA, and the greater Harrisonburg, VA, area. In this article, our team discusses how All-on-4 can address bone atrophy and why it is such a fantastic option for so many of our patients.
Why Does Bone Atrophy Occur?
First, it is important to understand why bone loss happens. When the natural teeth are still present and healthy, the surrounding bone receives proper nutrients. How? Because the roots stimulate nerves in the area and send signals to the brain.
When tooth loss occurs, however, these signals are no longer received. As a result, nutrients are no longer sent to the area and the bone begins to shrink, or atrophy.
Bone Loss and Standard Dental Implants
As bone loss continues, density and volume are lost. Not only does this change the shape of the jawbone and cause the facial features to lose support, but it also reduces patients’ eligibility for dental implants. To be successful over the long term, dental implants must be placed in solid, dense bone tissue.
It is important to note that once dental implants are placed in the bone, they actually preserve existing bone and reduce the risk for future atrophy. For this reason, we encourage patients to explore implant options immediately following tooth loss.
However, in some instances, individuals have waited years before considering replacement with implants. By this time, the bone may be too weak to accommodate traditional dental implants.
Why All-on-4 Is an Option for Patients with Bone Loss
The All-on-4 method still involves placing implants. So why is this approach more successful for patients with bone atrophy? The primary reason is the strategic placement of the implants themselves.
Traditionally, dental implants are placed vertically in the bone ridge, similar to natural dental roots. With All-on-4, two of the implants are placed vertically near the front of the ridge, but two implants are placed at a 45-degree angle near the back of the ridge. This effectively maximizes existing bone and offers a foundation for a fixed, permanent restoration.
Living with All-on-4
All-on-4 implants are different from other implant-supported dentures. Many implant dentures are still removable but are just held firmly in place by the implants. Conversely, the restoration that goes on top of All-on-4 dental implants is fixed. This means that it can only be removed by your dentist.
To maintain your restoration, it is important to clean around the implants and underneath the fixed bridge every day. Our team can demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques during your visit to our office. Additionally, routine cleanings and exams are essential to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.
Learn More about All-on-4 Today
If you have been told you are not eligible for dental implants because of bone atrophy and live in the Harrisonburg area, don’t lose hope. All-on-4 may be an excellent option for you. To learn more about this treatment option, schedule an appointment at our Harrisonburg, VA practice. Call our Bridgewater or Staunton locations at (540) 828-2312 or contact us online.