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CAN 4 IMPLANTS REPLACE ALL MY TEETH?
50 to 60% of people suffer from at least one missing teeth by the age of 40 years. Almost 80% of people suffer from complete edentulousness (all teeth are missing) by the age of 80. In today’s world, the best treatment option for multiple missing teeth is All on 4 dental implants.
They offer good strength and function to artificial teeth. But the high treatment cost associated with dental implants is a big hindrance to its usage. Many times patients thick of economical ways of having artificial teeth.
In countries like the USA, and UK, the treatment costs of dental implants are so premium, that patients cannot afford them until and unless they are supported by some dental insurance agencies.
A single dental implant may cost somewhere $1000 to $3000 in countries like the USA. If the patient has 10 missing teeth, then he may have to go for 5 to 10 dental implants (depending on the region). It may cost around $15000 to $30000, which is expensive.
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Can 4 implants replace all my teeth in one jaw? Is it possible? The answer is YES! The concept of all on 4 implants is simple to understand. It is the best and minimally traumatic alternative to extensive teeth replacement. In simple words, all the teeth in one arch will be loaded using “JUST 4 IMPLANTS”.
When can I go for all on 4 implants?
All on 4 implants are best suited for complete replacement of teeth in a single arch, i.e either maxillary arch (complete upper arch) or mandibular arch (complete lower arch). Let me explain in simple words. For example if a patient has all his 16 teeth missing in the upper arch. There are 3 implant solutions for it.
- You can replace all the 16 or 12 teeth (excluding 2nd and 3rd molars) with 12 implants.
- You can go for at least 6-8 implants using implant bridge concept.
- Or you can make all these 12 teeth stand, using just 4 implants.
Which option do you think is more economical, feasible, and less traumatic? Definitely the second option. Moreover, we cannot expect all the 12 areas to have a good amount of bone for implant placements (in the 1st scenario).
Most of these edentulous areas (areas where teeth are missing) would have compromised bony architecture, where implant placement can be impossible. But how would it be, if you can select ONLY 4 PLACES out of these 12 areas, where you can get good bone support and place JUST 4 IMPLANTS for building the entire arch?
It would be awesome, right! This is the main reason why most dentists opt for ALL ON 4 IMPLANTS.
Who are the ideal patients for all on 4 implants?
Any patient who has complete missing teeth in upper or lower arches can go for all on 4 implants. But the decision to go for it will be decided by your dentist after all the necessary investigations.
What investigations should I undergo for all on 4 implants?
Your dentist may advise a CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) scan before deciding the treatment plan. CBCT gives an in-depth analysis of your bone, with all the measurements needed for ALL ON 4 IMPLANT PLACEMENTS.
After analyzing the scan, the respective dentist will finally sort out your treatment plan. Based on bone measurements in the scan, he will decide whether the ALL ON 4 IMPLANTS concept is feasible for that patient or not.
What is this ALL ON 4 CONCEPT?
Coming to the procedure of ALL ON 4, we place 4 implants in suitable areas on the arch. Out of them, 2 are straight implants. Another 2 implants are placed at an angulation (45 degrees). This placement helps in increasing the contact surface area of the implant to the bone.
In simple terms, more are of the implant will come in contact with bone and has better stability, and covers a wider area when compared to conventional implant placements.
Why should I go for ALL ON 4 IMPLANTS?
The ALL ON 4 CONCEPT, works under the principle of placing 4 implants in the bone to replace all the teeth in one arch. So, instead of replacing all the missing teeth with implants, only 4 implants are used.
It is a more economical alternative for the patient, as he will be charged for only 4 implants, instead of 12 or 14 implants.
ALL ON 4 implants can be placed even in atrophic dental arches (dental arches with minimal bone available for implants). Hence the percentage of people who are suitable for ALL ON 4 is more when compared to those who opt for individual implants.
All on 4 can give good prosthetic stability to your teeth when compared to individual implants, as all the 4 implants can be braided to one another so that there will be equal distribution of forces on to the bone.
This increases the lifetime of the prosthesis (artificial teeth). Moreover, we can opt for a provisional bridge, immediately after placing implants in ALL ON 4.
In simple words, generally, patients have to wait for at least 3 months after implant placement. During this time implant fuses with the bone, and this phase is called osseointegration.
This is a crucial phase for gaining stability, by the implant. Hence in conventional implant placements, a prosthesis or artificial teeth have to be placed only after osseointegration is completed, i.e only after 3-4 months.
During this time patient cannot have any prosthesis over the implant. But in all on 4 concepts, we can place a temporary prosthesis immediately after placing implants. Hence patient has the advantage of having artificial teeth on the day of implant placement only.
Adjutant surgical procedures like bone grafting are less likely to be done in ALL ON 4 implants when compared to conventional implants because implants are tilted to an angle to use the least available bone present there.
Are there any modifications to ALL ON 4 IMPLANTS?
Yes! In a few cases, 4 implants may not be enough to bear the complete arch, or in certain situations where a good amount of bone is available, we can even opt for 6 implants for better stability. THIS IS CALLED ALL ON 6 CONCEPT.
CROWNS OVER DENTAL IMPLANTS:
When there is good bone height, your dentist can advise direct drowns on these 4 implants. This is called CROWNS OVER DENTAL IMPLANTS. These crowns are made either from porcelain or zirconia. They do not have any gingival (gums) extension. They are more aesthetic and have an appealing look.
DENTURES OVER DENTAL IMPLANTS:
These prosthetic replacements are more commonly used when compared to the crown over dental implants. Here all the teeth come with stable support below them, which is the gingival (gum) extension of teeth.
In simple words, they look almost similar to your daily DENTURES. The only difference is, they come with fixed implant attachments, where these dentures are directly fixed to implants using screws.
HYBRID PROSTHESIS OVER DENTAL IMPLANTS
These are similar to DENTURES OVER DENTAL IMPLANTS. But additionally, they come with a bar attachment, which stabilizes all the dental implants. This is mainly added for additional support and also to increase the stability and endurance of artificial dentures.
Of the above types, which one should I prefer? The type of prosthesis for your dental implants will be decided by your dentist. He is the right person to take a decision on your dental prosthesis. It will be confirmed only after an extensive morphometric analysis of your dental arches.
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE
All on 4 is the most economical treatment option for patients who need numerous teeth replacements. But all patients are not suitable for All on 4 implants. The decision whether to go for All on 4 or not will be decided by your dentist.
The type of prosthesis for All on 4 will be decided by your dentist after a thorough radiographic examination of available bone. Hence its always wise to follow your dentist in selecting the prosthesis. For more information regarding dental implants and All on 4 implants consult your dentist.
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