What Is All-on-4®, and Who Needs It?

Anyone can lose a tooth — just ask a hockey player. But sports injuries aren’t the only culprits. Excessive wear-and-tear due to bruxism (teeth grinding), normal wear-and-tear over time, nerve damage, and decay are just a few of the many reasons you may have a gap in your smile.

And fixing that gap is essential to your oral and overall health because neighboring teeth tend to lean into open spaces causing misalignment, and bacteria love to hang out on exposed gums.

Traditional ​dental implants​ are a great way to fill the gap and resolve the complications, but what if you’ve lost several or all of your teeth?

When you have multiple teeth missing, ​our team​ of board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons here at ​Oral Facial Surgery Specialists at The Woodlands​ have the solution that can save your smile and your health — ​All-on-4®​ dental implants.

Do you want to see if you’re a good candidate? Here’s what you need to know.

A word about All-on-4 dental implants

While it makes sense to replace a single missing tooth with a single dental implant, it’s just not practical for those who are missing many or all of their teeth. Dentures and bridges have been the go-to solutions in these cases, but now there’s a better way.

All-on-4 dental implants replace full arches, meaning they can stand-in for a full set of missing teeth, top or bottom. Instead of inserting a post through your gums and into your jawbone at the site of each missing tooth, we place four strategic posts that support a full set of teeth.

With All-on-4 you get a brand new permanent smile that looks and acts like your natural teeth.

Who needs All-on-4 dental implants?

All-on-4 dental implants solve several issues at once, but how do you know if it’s right for you? If you’re missing many or all of your teeth, you’re at risk for gum disease, bone loss, and changes to your facial structure, and you’re likely a good candidate for All-on-4.

Our team has compiled a list to guide you as you consider your options. Most people are eligible for All-on-4 dental implants, with just a few exceptions. The best candidates are those who:

Are in good general health

Because the All-on-4 procedure is surgical, you must be healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.

Certain health conditions may disqualify you from All-on-4, including ​uncontrolled diabetes​. If you’re undergoing radiation treatments, especially in your jaw, it’s best to delay your All-on-4 treatment. And if you’re taking ​antidepressants​, it could affect the success of the procedure.

Have healthy gums

The ideal candidate for any kind of dental implant is one whose gums are healthy and ready to receive the prosthesis. Simply having a history of gum disease shouldn’t disqualify you, but it could affect the success of the implantation.

If you have active gingivitis or periodontitis, it’s best to get that under control first.

Have good bone structure

Because the posts that support the new arch of teeth are anchored into your jawbone, you need to have strong, healthy bones that can grab onto and fuse with the titanium rod in a process called ​osseointegration​.

If necessary, we may recommend a ​bone graft ​to shore up the area and get it ready to receive the All-on-4 implants.

Are not smokers

Smoking is not only bad for your health overall, but it’s especially troublesome when it comes to any kind of surgery. That’s because the nicotine in tobacco affects your immune system and restricts the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients necessary for bone remodeling.

Studies​ show that smokers may have a higher dental implant failure rate than nonsmokers. This means your healing process may take longer and osseointegration may not be successful.

But if you have health or lifestyle issues that might not be a good fit for All-on-4 dental implants, don’t give up. In most cases, it’s just a matter of resolving the issues first and delaying the implant procedure for a while.

To learn more about All-on-4 dental implants, ​contact​ us by phone or online in The Woodlands, Texas, to schedule a consultation with our team.


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