Tooth loss does not only impact your self-confidence, but it can also impact daily activities, such as eating. One-quarter of US adults aged 65 or older have eight or fewer teeth, but the good news is there are dental implant options. One of these options is all-on-four dental implants.
Dental implants replace damaged or missing teeth. They can help protect your other teeth and maintain your oral health. One of these dental implant options is to get all-on-four implants.
All-on-4 implants are a popular choice, and for a good reason, with a success rate of 98.2%. These dental implants use fixed dental arches with four implant points instead of individual dental implants.
Are you interested in getting all-in-four dental implants? Read on for eleven factors to consider before making a decision.
1. Your Dental Implant Options
Dental implants help patients enjoy their smiles once more and chew comfortably. However, there are several dental implant options, and you may not be a good candidate for all of them. Before you decide to have all-on-four implants, you need to know your options and see your dentist for an assessment to determine your options.
The two main types of implants are:
Endosteal implants are the most common type of dental implant placed in the jawbone. In contrast, subperiosteal implants are placed on or above the jawbone. These are best suited to patients who do not have enough healthy jawbone but may not be able to or want to have bone augmentation.
Along with the two main types of implants, there are different options for the type of implant you need. These include:
- Mini dental implants
- All-on-4 implants
- Immediate load dental implants
All-on-4 implants are unlike traditional dental implants as they can replace multiple teeth with as little as four actual dental implants. It avoids the need for bone grafting or dentures. They work by using four titanium points in the jaw at specific angles to help the teeth work as one complete unit.
2. Your Dental Health
Common reasons you would get all-on-four implants is if you are missing multiple teeth, all teeth or the natural ones you have remaining will benefit from implants to support them. However, before getting these implants, you need to commit to managing your oral health.
It may mean you need some dental care treatment before you can have the implants. You must also practice good oral hygiene to prevent implant failure and other dental health risks such as cavities and gum disease. Your dentist may also advise you to take additional steps to protect your oral health, such as stopping smoking several months before the procedure.
Missing teeth can cause other dental health issues, chewing, jaw alignment issues, and temporomandibular joint issues (TMJ). The sooner you seek treatment for missing teeth, the better to make the procedure as smooth as possible.
However, dental implants such as all-on-four implants help stabilize teeth, preventing any of these issues. The sooner you seek treatment for your teeth, the better, as it will make all-on-four implants easier to install.
If you are willing to be consistent with your dental care and are happy to take the recommended steps before the procedure, then all-on-four dental implants could be for you.
3. Age and Facial Structure
Usually, dental implant options such as all-on-four will not be suitable for people under 18 years old unless the dentist makes an exception for a specific reason. However, there is not usually an upper age limit on when you can get all-on-four implants.
However, you should consider that your face may look different after implants, especially if you have lost all your teeth and are used to how it looks.
Your appearance will also change if you experience bone loss from missing teeth. The lower part of your face begins to sag and collapse. The result is more wrinkles and an older appearance, which you can avoid with dental implants.
4. Current Medications
Before having all-on-four dental implants, you will have to consider any side effects of the medications you take. More than 131 million people take prescription medication in the US, which means it is a common factor people have to take into consideration before dental implants.
During dental implant surgery, you will receive anesthesia, which is why dentists need to know the medications you are on before your surgery. Medications can interfere with the anesthesia and cause other risks. You may need to see your primary physician so they can examine your prescription and determine what medication you can pause taking.
The dentist or your doctor will advise you if you need to stop or pause certain medications. Before the surgery, you may also need to avoid over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin. Certain pain relievers can increase the risk of excessive bleeding during dental implant surgery.
5. Costs of Dental Implants
Dental implants such as all-on-four implants offer many benefits, but you need to be able to afford them. Usually, you can only determine the costs of your dental implants after a consultation with your dentist. Every case is unique, and you may have to factor in costs for other dental care procedures as part of your dental implant journey.
You can get a rough idea of the cost by considering:
- Where you live
- Dental coverage
- Quantity of implants needed
- Other dental health procedures you need
- Travel costs
If you want an average cost estimation, you can contact your dentist directly to get an idea of how much dental implants cost on average in your area. For example, the cost of all-on-4 implants starts from $18,000 at our practice, but the national average is $48,000, so prices can vary significantly.
Ask what is included in the treatment cost for the implants, and ask why it is the price they quote. For example, our practice can offer all-on-4 implants at lower prices because we offer complimentary consultations, all-inclusive price packages, an in-house lab technician, and other on-site specialists such as anesthetists.
It is also essential to know that dentists offer different ways to pay for dental health treatments, such as monthly payment plans. You may be able to consider dental implants if you select a provider that offers different term lengths, cost transparency, and zero-interest financing options.
Dental implants are long-lasting, especially if you maintain good dental care. They can even last a lifetime because of the durable material that is non-toxic to the body. When considering the costs of these implants, also factor in the investment sturdy all-on-four implants offer.
6. Know the Risks and Complications
When considering dental implants, you need to know the risks. Some risks of dental implants include infection, sinus damage, improper placement, and nerve damage. The risks of dental implants mean you must find a reputable provider with the expertise to carry out the procedure safely.
There are potential risk factors for people with regular tobacco and alcohol use, as this can inhibit healing after surgery. It can also increase the risk of infection and implant rejection, as certain substances can cause side effects such as a dry mouth.
There can also be more risk of complications if you suffer from autoimmune disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, or other diseases. You can experience complications such as failure of osseointegration when the bone does not grow around the implant as planned. If this does happen, you may get a replacement or try another option.
It is important to disclose everything so the dentist can determine if all-on-4 implants are right for you. It also helps them prepare you and plan your recovery time accordingly. Factors such as severe psychological problems may also impact your ability to get implants if it would be impossible to care for your dental health after surgery.
7. Know the Benefits
Often the benefits of dental implants outweigh the risks, especially if you follow dental care recommendations correctly. Here are some of the top benefits of these implants:
- Preserves the bone
- Protects gum tissue
- Like normal teeth
- Prevent premature aging and facial sagging
- More confidence
All-on-four dental implants do not only treat oral health issues; they prevent further ones from happening. If you are aware of the benefits of these dental implants, you can decide whether you want to commit to the treatment plan. Your dentist will also be able to explain the benefits specific to your case.
8. Understand the Procedure
Understanding the all-on-four dental implant procedure is essential to making an informed decision. First, you must complete any dental health treatment to make dental implants possible, such as removing the damaged tooth. The implants will replace your upper or lower teeth with four implants that secure your new teeth.
The procedure is only minimally invasive and can be completed in as little as a day. You will be under local or general anesthesia to make the process smoother. It may involve cutting away any infected gum tissue before inserting the screws into the jaw.
Then, the dentist can secure the implants and clean the area, ready for you to enjoy!
9. Commit to Aftercare
This treatment option restores a sense of normalcy and helps you quickly adjust to your new implants. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of dentures, as they can feel unnatural and can be inconvenient. In contrast, patients often cannot distinguish between the all-on-4 implants and their natural teeth.
You can continue to eat and care for your teeth like normal. Your chewing ability can even improve. Naturally, when you feel in control of your dental care, your confidence will also increase.
You do not have to worry about missing photos or struggling to eat in front of people. Embrace your smile and a complete set of teeth once more.
However, you do need to commit to aftercare, despite the many benefits all-on-4 dental implants will immediately provide. For example, you will have to have gauze packs until the bleeding stops and avoid anything that could irritate your mouth.
You may also have to rinse your mouth with salt water and rest as much as possible to speed up recovery. It is best to take time off work and avoid physical activity.
10. Find the Right Dentist
One of the critical factors in ensuring you reap the benefits of all-on-four implants is finding the right dentist. Not all dentists have the same expertise to carry out the procedure, so invest time researching who is right for you. Reading client testimonials and checking independent reviews is an excellent place to start.
Check the dentist's education, licenses, and experience. You want to find a surgery with the dedicated professionals you need, with state-of-the-art technology for the best oral care. A reputable service will happily disclose their educational background, experience, and licenses.
It can also be helpful to schedule a consultation at the practice to learn more about all-on-four implants and to meet the dental care team. You will get to see the practice and check if the dentist can address your concerns.
11. Maintain Your Dental Implants
Dental implants do not require extensive maintenance, but you must commit to a consistent oral health routine. Brush, floss, and attend regular check-ups with your dentist to protect your teeth. Your dentist will perform regular dental implant maintenance and monitoring to ensure they are functioning at their optimum.
If you are diligent with your dental health routine, you can enjoy the many benefits of all-on-four implants. They are durable and long-lasting, which means you can enjoy them for the rest of your life.
The Best All-on-Four Dental Implants
All-on-four dental implants offer many benefits, which is why they continue to grow in popularity. Dental implant technology is also continuing to develop, which makes it an exciting time to invest in your dental care and restore your smile.
These eleven factors can help you consider if all-on-four dental implants are for you. However, the next step is to consult directly with a dental care provider to assess whether this dental implant option is suitable for you.
Are you based in New Jersey? Montclair Dental Spa offers a variety of dental treatments, including all-on-four implants. Get in touch today to learn more.