If you have been considering all-on-4 dental implants, the first step is to learn everything you can about this innovative and highly effective treatment.
According to the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, a comprehensive review of data shows that all-on-4 dental implants have a 99.8 percent “success rate” (they say “survival” but what they mean is survival of the implants) – in other words, they are nearly always a runaway success.
But this does not necessarily mean that all-on-4 dental implants are always the right treatment for every dental health issue. In this article, learn all that you need to know about this type of implants so you can talk knowledgably with your dentist about your options.
Why Might You Benefit from All-on-4 Dental Implants?
The number one reason you might benefit from all-on-4 dental implants is because this ground-breaking technique reduces the time it takes to get a whole new set (arch) of upper or lower teeth.
The technique is less invasive, faster and safer than traditional implant dentistry.
What Are All-On-4-Implants?
Every day, someone enters their dentist’s office and leaves with the knowledge that they need a dental implant. Most patients do not receive this news with delight.
But with all-on-4 implants, this formerly time-consuming and sometimes problematic process is greatly simplified.
As the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) explains, the first step is to place the four titanium screws in the available existing jawbone.
Already a typical step – bone grafting – has been avoided.
You will go home the same day with a full set of temporary replacement teeth. This allows the titanium screws time to set and fuse with the existing bone and the surrounding tissues of the jaw and gums to heal.
After six months, you return and your surgeon will place your full set of new permanent replacement teeth. Then you can return to life as normal and eat anything you want just as you would with your natural teeth.
What Are The Benefits Of All-On-4 Implants?
As the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research explains, the procedure now known as All-on-4 dental implants was first invented by a Portuguese dentist back in the 1990’s.
Today, this procedure is widely viewed as one of the most progressive and beneficial oral health breakthroughs in modern dental care.
What benefits might you receive from all-on-4 dental implants? Here are the four most commonly and widely reported benefits patients receive from this implant procedure.
1. A full mouth of teeth with just four implants.
Once you understand the concept of an implant, which is essentially a titanium metal screw that serves as an an artificial “root” to anchor the tooth to the jawbone, it is much easier to grasp why all-on-4 implants were an immediate hit.
As Healthline reports, most adults have 32 teeth (four of which are wisdom teeth). That means you have 18 upper teeth and 18 lower teeth.
Imagine that you need four, eight or all 18 teeth on your upper or lower jaw replaced. In the past, if you chose implants, this would have meant you would have needed four, eight or 18 implants.
With the all-on-4 technique, you only need four implants to anchor a full set of 18 teeth to your upper or lower jawbone.
2. Prevention of future bone loss.
Another less flashy yet equally vital benefit from all-on-4 implants is how they work to prevent future jawbone loss.
Many dental patients don’t realize that titanium metal can actually fuse together with living bone. This is pretty amazing in itself.
But what is even more amazing is how the presence of the fused titanium will prevent additional bone loss in the future by shoring up the existing jawbone with essential structure.
3. Secure bite and confident smile.
It could be said that the number one reason patients love all-on-4 dental implants is because they feel the most like a real set of teeth. You can chew with confidence.
There is no slipping or chafing and no fear or avoidance of certain formerly favorite foods that might be harder or more sticky.
You can also smile with confidence because all-on-4 implants provide a pristine white smile that you can enjoy sharing.
4. No special cleaning or maintenance issues.
Another key to the success of all-on-4 implants is that they don’t need any special cleaning or maintenance, unlike many other tooth replacement options.
Because all-on-4 implants are permanent, you simply floss and brush them just like you would your regular set of natural teeth.
How Much Do These Implants Cost?
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), a single dental implant typically costs between $3,500 and $4,000.
Of course, paying for a single implant would get you a single implant. This only works if you only need a single tooth replaced.
For patients who need several teeth replaced or even a full upper or lower arch (set) of teeth replaced, paying for 18 implants would represent an unbearable financial burden for most.
The all-on-4 dental procedure cost can vary somewhat depending on each patient’s particular situation).
However, a general rule of thumb is that the procedure itself (excluding diagnostics and any preparatory work such as tooth extraction) costs about the same as having four implants done – so about $12,000 for a single set (arch).
Would Insurance Cover The Cost Of These Implants?
Because all-on-4 implants are cost-effective, minimally invasive and typically permanent, many insurers are now choosing to cover some or all of the costs of this procedure.
However, it is up to the individual insurer so you will definitely want to contact your provider before scheduling your procedure.
How Does All-On-4 Compare To G4 Implants? Which Is Better?
Rather than a head-on comparison, it can be more helpful to view all-on-4 implants and G4 implants as two complementary solutions to different dental problems.
For example, let’s say that you simply don’t have enough viable bone in locations where the all-on-4 implants would traditionally be placed.
The G4 implants technique uses the front jawbone instead of jawbone locations around the sides. The front jawbone is often the densest bone so patients who have less viable bone around the sides can still be candidates for a minimally invasive full arch replacement.
However, the G4 procedure gives you a replacement bridge rather than a full arch of fully permanent replacement teeth.
Another consideration that many patients do not initially realize is that the G4 bridge will eventually need to be replaced due to natural occlusion, or wear and tear as the patient uses the new set of replacement teeth.
The frequency of replacement can vary from two years to seven years depending on the type of bridge you choose. Bridges that come with a longer warranty period and time to replacement estimate will cost more, of course.
With the all-on-4 dental implants procedure, most patients never need any further maintenance and certainly will not need a replacement arch.
As a patient in the age of modern dentistry, you have some great options to help you look and feel your best at an affordable cost in a minimum amount of time.
However, deciding what the best approach is to restore the full function and vitality of your smile is a very personal choice!
Your dentist will be able to give you insight into the optimal procedure for your goals, oral health issues and budget. Remember, insurance often covers all-on-4 dental implants in whole or in part, so be sure to contact your provider for details.
If for any reason your particular insurer does not provide reimbursement, be sure to ask your dentist about other financing options designed specifically to support you so you can get the dental care you need.