A guide to all-on-four implant supported dentures

Sometimes the “priciest” procedure is not necessarily the best one for you. There are various paths one could take in the case of a missing tooth or teeth. Many factors play a part in what will suit your needs and it is not until you visit your dentist that a solution can be provided. Dentures and All-on-4 are two solutions which are popular and cover two price points and outcomes for potential patients.

If you suffer from tooth loss and would like to remedy this problem, then it is important to see your dentist for a professional consultation. In some cases, you might even want to get a second opinion. If price is an issue, then I would recommend a medical tourism destination such as Budapest, Hungary. For roughly 60% of the price in the UK and Western Europe you can receive the same first-class treatment. Let’s take a look at the difference between Dentures and All-in-4.

What are Dentures and who would be a viable Candidate?

Dentures are removable dental prosthetics designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth and can be made of various materials such as acrylic resin, porcelain, or a combination of both.

Different Types of Dentures

The realm of dentures encompasses various options tailored to individual oral health requirements.

Complete Dentures

Referred to as full dentures, these prosthetics replace an entire set of missing teeth. Positioned over the gums, complete dentures rely on the palate or lower jawbone for support. Usage of denture adhesive may be necessary to ensure stability. Typically consisting of artificial teeth and a gum-colored base, full dentures are commonly associated with traditional denture imagery. Wearers usually remove them nightly for cleaning and gum rest.

Partial Dentures

Suitable for individuals with multiple missing teeth in one or both jaws, partial dentures offer support through a combination of gum and bone structure along with specialized clasps that anchor onto existing natural teeth. This additional support enhances stability.

Immediate Dentures

When tooth extractions precede denture placement, immediate dentures are utilized immediately post-extraction. Depending on the case, they may serve as temporary solutions until final dentures are fitted post-healing or may directly transition into the final set.

Implant-Retained Dentures

Distinct from conventional dentures, implant-retained dentures utilize dental implants for support instead of relying solely on gum and bone structure. These implants, acting as artificial tooth roots, enhance stability. Removal for cleaning is still required.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Unlike other denture types, implant-supported dentures, also known as permanent or hybrid dentures, are fixed and can only be removed by a dentist. Recommended for individuals seeking non-removable solutions, these dentures necessitate meticulous daily cleaning, including flossing beneath the prosthesis, for maintenance.

Viable candidates for dentures typically include individuals who:

  • Tooth Loss: Have lost multiple teeth due to decay, gum disease, injury, or other reasons.
  • Appearance: Desire to restore the appearance of their smile and facial structure.
  • Health Constraints: Are unable to undergo other dental procedures like dental implants due to health reasons or financial constraints.
  • Healthy Mouth: Have healthy gums and sufficient jawbone structure to support the dentures.
  • New Habits: Are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups to ensure the longevity of their dentures.

Dentures can provide significant benefits for individuals experiencing tooth loss, including improved chewing ability, speech, and self-confidence. However, it’s essential to consult with a dentist or prosthodontist to determine the most suitable treatment option based on individual needs and oral health status.

What are the downsides to Dentures?

While dentures can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with missing teeth, they do have some potential downsides:

  1. Adjustment Period: It may take some time for wearers to adjust to the feeling of dentures in their mouth. Initially, they may experience discomfort, soreness, or difficulty speaking and eating. However, with time and proper adjustments, most people adapt to wearing dentures.
  2. Chewing Limitations: Compared to natural teeth or dental implants, dentures may not provide the same level of chewing efficiency. Certain foods, particularly sticky or hard ones, may be more challenging to eat, requiring the wearer to make dietary adjustments.
  3. Speech Issues: Dentures can sometimes affect speech, causing difficulties with pronunciation or speaking clearly. This is often temporary and improves as the wearer becomes accustomed to the dentures.
  4. Potential for Slipping or Discomfort: Dentures are removable and rely on suction, adhesives, or clasps to stay in place. However, they may still shift or become loose during eating, speaking, or laughing, leading to discomfort or embarrassment for the wearer.
  5. Bone Resorption: When teeth are lost, the jawbone that once supported them can begin to deteriorate over time due to lack of stimulation. Dentures do not prevent this bone resorption, and as a result, the fit of the dentures may change over time, requiring adjustments or replacements.
  6. Maintenance Requirements: Dentures require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent plaque buildup, staining, and bacterial growth. Failure to maintain proper oral hygiene can lead to oral health issues such as gum disease and bad breath.
  7. Aesthetic Considerations: While modern dentures are designed to look natural, some wearers may be self-conscious about their appearance, particularly if the dentures do not fit properly or if they shift or become dislodged during social interactions.

Despite these potential downsides, dentures remain a popular and effective option for replacing missing teeth, particularly for individuals who may not be candidates for dental implants or other more invasive procedures. Regular dental visits and proper care can help mitigate many of these challenges associated with wearing dentures.

What are All-on-4 implants and who is a viable candidate?

All-on-4 implants are a dental restoration technique that provides a complete set of replacement teeth supported by just four dental implants. This procedure is designed for individuals who have lost most or all of their natural teeth in one or both jaws.

Here’s how All-on-4 implants work

Implant Placement

Four dental implants are strategically placed in the jawbone to provide support for a full arch of artificial teeth. These implants act as anchors for the denture or bridge.

Immediate Load

In many cases, a temporary prosthesis can be attached to the implants on the same day as the surgery. This immediate load helps restore function and aesthetics while the implants integrate with the jawbone.

Final Restoration

After a healing period of several months, during which the implants fully integrate with the bone (osseointegration), a permanent, custom-made prosthetic appliance is attached to the implants. This final restoration is often made of durable materials like acrylic or porcelain and is designed to resemble natural teeth in appearance and function.

Viable candidates for All-on-4 implants typically include individuals who:

  • Tooth Loss: Have lost most or all of their natural teeth in one or both jaws.
  • Strong Bone: Have sufficient bone volume and density to support dental implants.
  • Permanent: Desire a fixed, permanent solution for tooth replacement.
  • Improve Speech: Seek improved chewing ability, speech, and overall oral function.
  • In Good Health: Are in good general health and free from conditions that may impair healing after surgery.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified oral surgeon or prosthodontist to determine candidacy for All-on-4 implants. They will evaluate your oral health, bone density, and overall medical history to determine if this treatment is suitable for you.

What are the downsides to All-in-4 implants?

While All-on-4 implants offer numerous advantages for individuals seeking a permanent solution for tooth replacement, they also have some potential downsides:

Cost: All-on-4 implants can be more expensive than traditional dentures or other tooth replacement options. The initial cost includes the surgical placement of the implants, fabrication of the prosthetic appliance, and follow-up appointments. While the long-term benefits may outweigh the upfront expense for some individuals, cost can be a significant consideration.

Surgical Procedure: The placement of dental implants involves a surgical procedure that carries inherent risks, such as infection, bleeding, and damage to surrounding structures. Additionally, individuals may experience discomfort and swelling following the surgery, requiring time for recovery.

Bone Resorption: While dental implants help stimulate the jawbone and prevent further bone loss in the area where teeth are missing, All-on-4 implants may not prevent bone resorption in the same way as individual implants. Over time, some bone loss may still occur around the implants, potentially affecting the long-term stability and fit of the prosthesis.

Potential Complications: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications with All-on-4 implants, such as implant failure, nerve damage, or sinus problems (in the case of upper jaw implants). While these complications are relatively rare, they can occur and may require additional interventions or revisions.

Maintenance Requirements: While All-on-4 implants are designed to be permanent fixtures, they still require regular maintenance and care. This includes proper oral hygiene practices, routine dental check-ups, and occasional adjustments or repairs to the prosthetic appliance.

Limited Customization: The All-on-4 technique involves using a fixed prosthesis supported by four implants, which may limit the degree of customization compared to other implant-supported restorations. While the prosthetic appliance is designed to be functional and aesthetically pleasing, some individuals may prefer more personalized options in terms of size, shape, and material.

Potential for Compromised Aesthetics: In some cases, the All-on-4 technique may not achieve the same level of aesthetics as individual implants or other tooth replacement options. The prosthesis may appear less natural or may not fully address concerns related to facial aesthetics, particularly if there has been significant bone loss or gum recession.

Overall, while All-on-4 implants offer significant benefits for individuals seeking a stable and permanent solution for tooth replacement, it’s essential to carefully weigh these potential downsides and consult with a qualified dental professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on individual needs and circumstances.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve arrived at the place in your life, where you are contemplating Dentures or some type of Dental Implant, then I would suggest you visit your dentist for a consultation. You may be unaware of the long-term effects of having missing teeth and the impact on your health, but as with any health issues it just gets worse.

The good news is that there are options for various treatments abroad, quality of treatments, as well as price. If you are in Western Europe or the UK, your best option is to fly to Hungary for low cost and first-class treatment. Look at this as an investment in your long-term health as well as piece of mind.