A person’s teeth are one of the first things we notice when meeting someone new. A healthy smile can project confidence as well as proper hygiene. Unfortunately, even when missing or damaged teeth are not caused by a lack of brushing, they can cause self-consciousness. This is just one of the many reasons the “All-on-4” procedure is so popular.
What Is All-on-4?
Approximately 25% of adults over 65 have lost at least one tooth. While it’s pretty common to lose teeth, many adults with missing teeth feel anxious when talking or smiling. Fortunately, the All-on-4 procedure can replace missing teeth and restore a person’s confidence.
All-on-4 is a dental procedure that is used to create a healthy-looking and fully functional mouth. By strategically placing dental implants into the mouth, All-on-4 can permanently replace an entire set of teeth.
Instead of replacing each lost tooth with an implant, this method allows an entire set of false teeth to look flawless and natural. This is done by using four titanium posts in each arch to anchor the replacement teeth in place.
When Are Full Replacement Teeth Necessary?
A new set of teeth can be necessary for several reasons. Some situations that might call for the All-on-4 procedure include:
Multiple Damaged Teeth
In some cases, teeth may be too damaged to function properly. This happens when the teeth are severely chipped or crooked. Brittle teeth that overlap each other often affect both the top and bottom set. When this happens, pulling one individual tooth will not help the existing teeth.
Atrophied Jaw Bone
Damaged or missing teeth can cause the jaw to atrophy. This is because the pressure caused by the natural teeth is no longer supporting the mouth’s structure. Putting in replacement teeth can help preserve bone, but only if it is done through certain procedures.
Dentures rest on top of the jawbone and do not create the necessary pressure needed to preserve the jaw. All-on-4 allows four posts to be implanted directly into the jawbone so that the jaw can be strengthened.
An atrophied jawbone can cause problems with both speaking and chewing, but it is also known to radically change a person’s appearance. The face can look sunken or begin to sag without a strong jaw structure.
Gaps from multiple lost teeth can cause problems when speaking. Replacing the full set of teeth allows speech to flow naturally regardless of the conversational pace. Words that may have been difficult to pronounce with missing teeth are usually not an issue after an All-on-4 procedure.
Unique dental issues occur when several teeth are missing. The risk of infection dramatically increases. Gum disease and bacterial infections are known to cause deterioration in the surrounding teeth. Misalignment is a common problem when multiple lost teeth are not replaced. This frequently causes the surrounding teeth to radiate inward. While it may appear to soften the gap, the migrating teeth are negatively affecting the entire set.
The Life-Changing Benefits of All-on-4
Dentures are a well-known way to replace teeth. While they have been used for decades to help with chewing and aesthetics, they are not the most stable devices. Unlike permanent replacements, dentures can move unexpectedly in the mouth and may result in speech challenges and difficulty eating.
Using four posts to secure a set of replacement teeth in place allows people with missing teeth to live comfortably and speak confidently. The teeth are permanent and do not need to be taken out for cleaning purposes. Most patients prefer this method because the teeth feel completely natural. Benefits include:
A Natural Smile
The All-on-4 method is used to restore a natural-looking smile. Patients who have multiple missing teeth may have been dealing with the consequences for years. One lost tooth can easily turn into two or three and it quickly becomes unrealistic to get individual implants.
Replacing an entire set of teeth can help with the overall appearance of the mouth. This way, the teeth are all the same shade and properly aligned.
Missing or damaged teeth can cause problems with speech. Some people choose to withdraw from conversation or speak softly in an effort to hide the problem. All-on-4 implants do not extend in the same way as dentures. They only reach the gums, leaving the rest of the mouth to feel normal sensations. Not having to think about the pronunciation of certain words can make a huge impact on someone’s comfort level when speaking.
Damaged or missing teeth are usually noticeable at some point. Neglecting to laugh or speak because of shame has a spiraling effect. To avoid self-consciousness or isolation, some dental procedures are necessary. By replacing a full set of teeth, patients generally report feeling more confident in their interactions with others. This can be true in both social and professional situations. Regardless of appearance, a confident person almost always makes a good first impression.
Who Qualifies For All-on-4?
You may qualify for All-on-4 if you’ve lost multiple teeth. This could be due to injury or tooth decay. The reason your teeth are missing is often not important when determining if you are a candidate. This is because missing teeth tend to cause similar problems for many patients. If you have any kind of gum disease, you may be wondering if this procedure will make the problem worse. Luckily most gum disease does not have a negative impact on the procedure itself, but you might need to treat any oral health problems prior to the All-on-4 treatment. Before booking the treatment appointment, one of our dentists will examine your teeth during a consultation.
What Is an Initial Consultation?
The initial consultation is an appointment where prospective patients can learn about all the services available at our dental office. It’s also when the doctor will learn more about you and your oral health.
Medical history is taken to provide the best care. Medical histories allow doctors to know what type of anesthesia works best and if there are genetic illnesses that could affect the patient’s safety.
Certain bleeding disorders may not be conducive to surgery. These can include hemophilia and specific types of Von Willebrand disease. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura has also been known for causing excessive bleeding.
Blood thinners are problematic during the surgery itself and may need to be adjusted. This will depend on the patient’s diagnosis and current medical plan.
In addition to a thorough medical history, an assessment of the mouth is also done. This is to see which areas need attention. The overall oral care of an individual is checked before the next appointment is booked.
Medical Stop Signs
Not everyone is eligible for All-on-4. Although most people qualify for the procedure, those who have ongoing dental issues may be at risk.
The ideal candidate for dental implants will have a substantial amount of jawbone remaining. This does not mean All-on-4 cannot be performed with diminished bone, but there must be enough to work with. Insufficient bone density can lead to unsuccessful tooth implants. The healing process takes time and those who smoke can have a difficult recovery period. Before starting the procedure, candidates are asked about certain lifestyle habits.
Can I Eat The Same Foods After All-on-4?
The short answer is yes. The same foods you enjoyed before your surgery can still be eaten after the healing process has finished.
In many cases, patients can eat more types of food than they were able to before the All-on-4 procedure. This is because tooth loss can cause pain when eating.
Untreated tooth loss may affect the way hard food is chewed. Eating foods like apples or hard candy can become extremely difficult when one or more teeth are missing.
After recovering from surgery many people go back to eating what they originally ate before they lost multiple teeth. Meat, French bread, and other foods are all easily chewed after healing.
A Long Life of Smiles
Older adults aren’t the only ones susceptible to tooth loss. Sports accidents, trauma to the mouth, and disease can affect people of any age. If you’re young and feel self-conscious about tooth loss, this procedure makes a lasting difference.
Bone mass is one advantage for younger people. Those in their twenties tend to have more bone mass than patients over 65. This is ideal for the All-on-4 procedure.
This procedure can be easily done without any grafting for those with strong bone structures. The jawbone density provides enough mass for all four posts to be implanted into the mouth. Once this is done the recovery time is usually easier for those in their twenties.
Swelling typically resolves within the first week. After the recovery period, patients of any age can resume eating normal foods. This form of tooth replacement can provide a natural smile for years to come.
Book A Dentistry Consultation
Dr. Roberto Velasco provides exceptional dental care in Houston Texas. For information about our smile makeover services, please call 713-903-2611 or contact us.