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Dental implants offer a permanent solution to replace one or more missing teeth, providing those who suffer from tooth loss with restored dental function that looks and feels natural.
For those who are missing a full arch of teeth, dentures may be anchored within the mouth using traditional dental implants or a special system of dental implants called All-on-4.
At Apex Dental, Rock Hill, Dr. Prachi Sontakke explains the difference between All-on-4 versus traditional dental implants during patient consultations. Contact our Chicago practice to find out which treatment is right for you.
About All-on-4 Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants refer to a method that uses four dental implants to support an upper arch of dentures or a lower arch of dentures within the mouth. If supporting both arches, a total of eight implants are used in this system.
In comparison, six or more implants are required per arch when using traditional dental implants. That means most patients will need a total of 12 or more traditional dental implants to support both an upper and lower set of dentures.
How Does the All-on-4 System Use so Few Implants?
The All-on-4 system is able to use fewer dental implants to secure a set of dentures within the mouth due to the way in which All-on-4 implants are placed within the jawbone.
Unlike traditional dental implants, which are placed straight within the bone, All-on-4 implants are placed at an angle at the back of the jaw. Placing the implant at an angle helps maximize the implant's contact with the bone.
Maximizing the contact between the implant and the bone also helps many All-on-4 patients avoid the need for bone grafting, which is often needed in traditional dental implant treatment.
About Traditional Dental Implants
Like All-on-4 dental implants, traditional dental implants may be used to replace multiple teeth. Unlike All-on-4 implants, they may also be used to replace individual teeth.
Traditional dental implants may be paired with different types of restorations, including dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures, to replace individual teeth, multiple teeth, or a full set of teeth respectively.
Traditional Dental Implant Treatment Is Sometimes Longer Than All-on-4 Treatment
Traditional dental implant treatment often takes more time from start to finish than All-on-4 treatment. This is because sinus augmentation, bone grafting, or both, may be needed to rebuild the jawbone before traditional dental implants can be placed.
Once bone grafting or sinus augmentation are completed, the jaw must heal before the dental implants can be placed. The jawbone may take several weeks and sometimes months to sufficiently heal.
Some patients may not require bone grafting or sinus augmentation before dental implant placement. Even without these preliminary surgeries, it can take up to six months for the jaw to fully heal from traditional dental implant surgery.
It's important to note that the jaw can take up to six months to heal after All-on-4 implants are placed, but because bone grafts and sinus augmentation are often not needed, treatment time is typically shorter for All-on-4 patients versus traditional dental implant patients.
Choosing the Right Treatment
All-on-4 implants and traditional dental implants both provide exceptional results in restoring dental function to those who suffer from severe tooth loss. Because both treatments provide similar results, the treatment you choose will depend on your unique needs.