All-On-4® vs. Traditional Dental Implants

Dental implants have come a long way, they look and function like real teeth. The materials they are made from vary. Since they secure to the jaw, they stay in place. You don't have to worry about them coming loose or moving around as you do with dentures.

There are several different types of dental implants to evaluate if you consider this type of procedure, namely single dental implants and All-on-4 dental implants. Your dentist can help you evaluate which of them you are a good candidate for. While both offer you a solution when teeth have to be removed or they are already missing, there are pros and cons involved with each of them. Understanding what they offer can help you decide how you will move forward.

If you think dental implants could be the tooth replacement solution for you, call Pankaj Narkhede, DDS in Lake Forest, CA to schedule a consultation. Dr. Narkhede has served as an international authority in the field of dental implants for over 30 years. His patients travel from far and wide to get the luminous, permanent smiles they deserve!

What Are All-on-4® Dental Implants?

As the name suggests, all-on-4 dental implants allow all of the teeth or many of the teeth to be replaced with 4 implant structures under the gum line. The implants are bonded in place rather than being removable. They are brushed and flossed like regular teeth. For those with trouble controlling periodontal disease, this type of implant can make it easier to keep any remaining teeth healthy.

Pros 

All-on-4 dental implants are a good choice when multiple teeth need to be replaced or all of them. If the remaining teeth are going to be removed, this is a good choice versus traditional dentures. All of the teeth in the mouth can be replaced and secured with 4 dental implants. This can be done in about half as many appointments as traditional implants. The overall process is simpler and that allows patients to heal in less time.

All-on-4 dental implants are very strong. They can be shaped to improve your smile if you weren't happy with it before. At the same time, the implants look like natural teeth. Most patients are able to eat all the food choices they want in just a few weeks. There isn't a long waiting period of only consuming soft foods. They are designed to last a lifetime, you won't have to have them repaired or replaced down the road.

Cons

Some patients bite too hard when they have all-on-4 implants in place. This can cause damage to the bone under the gum line. As a result, additional bone graphing may have to take place in the future. Regular dental appointments can help to identify and address any such issue before it gets to that point. Wearing a mouth guard at night can be useful to prevent grinding them while sleeping.

Some patients are prone to infection during the healing process with this procedure. The amount of work below the gum line in a short amount of time can contribute to that. It is vital to keep all scheduled appointments. It is important to practice good oral hygiene and follow all precautions given by the dentist. If something seems out of the ordinary let your dentist know right away. Antibiotics may be given to help lower the risk of infection. Make sure you take them as directed.

What Are Traditional Dental Implants?

Traditional dental implants are a good choice when a person has one or a few missing teeth. They don't need a large number of them covered with the process of the all-on-four process.

Pros 

This is a good choice when someone has a tooth that needs to be replaced. It will be permanent rather than a flipper that comes out. This process is a good choice for a few teeth missing in the same area. This will add support and prevent other teeth from moving into that space.

Cons

With traditional dental implants, it will require at least two surgical procedures. There may be many more if you have multiple teeth to replace. Some patients find they develop a terrible taste in their mouth after traditional dental implants. It doesn't seem to go away no matter how much time passes or how many times they rinse their mouth.

It takes longer to heal with this procedure due to the way it is done. Patients have to be careful to avoid infection. They also have to consume soft food for several weeks until the dentist tells them it is okay to consume food of a harder texture. Doing so too soon can cause pain or cause damage to the implant.

Cost Comparison

The cost of All-on-4 dental implants is more expensive than traditional implants. This is due to the amount of time involved and the number of teeth to be replaced. Typically, the cost will be determined per arch, and then that price multiplied by 4. Most dental insurance providers don't cover the cost of this procedure in full.

Some of the better insurance providers will cover up to a maximum dollar amount or up to 50% of the cost. They may cover the surgery part of it for the bone graphing and the hardware to be inserted below the gum line. They may cover any teeth that need to be extracted. The patient would then be responsible for the rest. Many of the providers offer financing to help patients get the procedure done at a price that fits into their monthly budget.

Traditional implants are less expensive because there are fewer teeth to be implanted. The cost is still expensive, but the good news is the cost of all implants has dropped in recent years. Better procedures reduce the time involved and that helps cut the cost for the patients. Dental insurance may pay a portion of it and the patient is responsible for the rest. The dentist may have some in-house options to consider.

When a patient is a good candidate for either procedure, the cost may be an important part of that decision for them. The dental office can reach out to the insurance to see what they would cover. The remaining balance may influence the option the patient would like to pursue at that point in time. A healthy smile and a healthy mouth are worth the investment.

Decaying teeth and bacteria around the gums can cause pain and discomfort. A person can suffer when they have dental pain or they can't chew food correctly. They may feel self-conscious about their smile or when they talk due to missing and shifting teeth. Dental problems can increase the risk of serious health problems including heart disease and a stroke.

Treatment Process Comparison

Both All-on-4 and traditional dental implants are going to take time to complete. The process involves opening the gum line and inserting hardware. This has to heal in order for the implants to have a place to anchor them. The treatment is less intense for someone with multiple or all teeth to replace if they go with the all-on-4 option and they will heal in less time.

When a person needs one or a couple of implants, the traditional method can be the best for them. The number of appointments needed, the recovery time, and the pain level involved will depend on what has to be done, any bone loss, and the healing abilities of the individual. The dental provider can go over the specific treatment they recommend and what will take place with each step.

Which Is Better?

In some situations, traditional dental implants are a better option than All-on-4 dental implants. When someone has a missing tooth due to trauma, cracking, or decay where a root canal couldn't save it, they don't need all of the process involved with the All-on-4 process. However, if the individual has an underlying health issue that is going to cause the other teeth to do the same over time, it may be best to extract them and do the All-on-4. That is the best choice when someone has multiple teeth missing or serious problems due to periodontal disease.

Patients with significant bone loss tend to be a better candidate for the all-on-4 procedure. This is because it is only a matter of time before other teeth are shifting, decaying, and have to be extracted due to the lack of bone. However, a full assessment of the mouth and a complete x-ray should be done to determine which is better for that individual and their needs.

Both All-on-4 and traditional dental implants have plenty to offer. Each can be a viable solution to help offer support to remaining teeth and overall functionality. Talk to your dental provider to see which procedure they feel would be best for your needs and why. Ask any questions you may have about the procedures or what to expect afterward. Being well-informed about the choices allows you to move forward confidently with your dental treatment plan.

Schedule Your Dental Implants Consultation With Dr. Narkhede

Dr. Narkhede proudly offers the very best dental implant services in Lake Forest - and beyond! Call today to schedule your consultation.

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