Approximately 40 million Americans are reported to be missing all of their teeth (and many more are missing at least several teeth). There are many potential reasons for tooth loss, but regardless of why it happened, it can be a serious problem.
If you've experienced tooth loss, especially if you've lost all of your teeth, you need to assess your options. For many people, dental implants are the most effective choice.
If you're missing all of your teeth, your best option is going to be All-on-4 dental implants. A dentist won't have to place each individual implant. Instead, you get two full arches of teeth with only a few metal implants holding them in place.
But why choose dental implants over dentures or another type of dental option? Let's talk about it. Read on to learn all about the pros and cons of All-on-4 implants so you can make an informed decision about your dental health.
Benefits of All-on-4 Dental Implants
Overall, we believe that All-on-4 dental implants are the best option for most people who are missing all or most of their teeth. There are plenty of benefits of these implants that put them above some other types of dental services.
Here are a few of the top benefits of choosing All-on-4 dental implants.
Quick and Effective Results
When you choose to get All-on-4 dental implants, there will be a brief waiting period before you get your actual "teeth" in place. That said, the results are still quite quick when you consider that you're getting an entirely new set of teeth.
After you commit to getting implants, your dental health professional will make sure that your oral health is good, take some measurements of your mouth, and order your custom implants.
After this, it only takes one appointment to actually insert the implants and place your "teeth." This is far quicker than the process to get a full mouth of "traditional" implants (which are still a fantastic option for people who are missing only a few teeth) and it's comparable to the process of getting custom dentures.
Even the surgery is quick and you'll be under anesthesia.
While complications can occur, the vast majority of implants are successful long-term, so the quick results are also long-lasting.
Few Eating or Speaking Restrictions
When you are missing most of your teeth, eating and speaking are far more complicated (and often painful). Wearing dentures fixes the problem somewhat, but you'll still deal with your dentures sliding around and you won't be able to eat certain foods.
When you first get your dental implants, you may struggle to say certain letters, and eating will be uncomfortable. After your implants are healed, however, you should be able to eat all or most of your favorite foods and speak naturally.
Talk to your oral surgeon about any specific concerns that you have regarding food.
An Easy Healing Process
While getting implants is oral surgery, the healing process is less intense than you'd imagine.
Implants start fusing to your jaw right away. While you'll feel tenderness during this process, you should be able to get back to the majority of your regular activities within about a week without having to take heavy pain medication (though taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories is a good idea).
Your oral surgeon can walk you through the healing process and give you advice regarding ideal foods and aftercare to make sure that healing is quick and easy.
You Treat Them Like "Real Teeth"
For all intents and purposes, your dental implants are now your real teeth. You don't have to do anything special to take care of them once the healing process is over.
This means that, as far as dental hygiene goes, you treat them as if they were natural teeth. You should still brush at least two times every day and make sure that you floss.
This will help you maintain your gum health. While your new teeth can't form cavities as your natural teeth could, you still need to protect the rest of your mouth.
They're Better for Your Jaw Than Dentures
Did you know that your jaw can start to deteriorate when you lose your teeth? It's called bone resorption, and it's what causes that "sunken-in" look that many people get after tooth loss.
Your teeth stabilize your jaw. When you chew, you're applying pressure to the jaw and strengthening it. Even with dentures, you don't have anything to stabilize your jaw bone.
The metal implants simulate tooth roots. While you won't have a full mouth of mental anchors, you'll be able to minimize damage with the few anchors that are in place.
The Major Confidence Boost
The best benefit of All-on-4 dental implants is the major confidence boost that you'll get from them. You'll be able to flash a full and healthy smile again, potentially for the first time in years.
People don't often appreciate how much their teeth can impact their self-esteem until they lose them. You won't have to hide your smile in photos or cover your mouth while you laugh ever again. This benefit is priceless.
Downsides of All-on-4 Dental Implants
Dental implants aren't for everyone. While they're quick and effective, it's possible that they won't be the best option for you. It's always important to consult with your oral surgeon and get all of the details before you commit.
Here are a few potential downsides of getting the All-on-4 dental implant procedure.
Potential Sticker Shock
It's no secret that getting dental implants is expensive. That said, because they're so long-lasting, they may still be the most financially viable option for you.
If you've been deciding between dental implants and dentures, remember that you won't have to replace dental implants. If you can't afford implants right now, consider saving a small amount of money each month. You can also finance your dental implants and do low monthly payments over the course of several years.
There are options for everyone regarding pricing and payment plans.
Risks From Poor Oral Hygiene
As we mentioned before, you're supposed to treat your dental implants as if they were natural teeth. Do the same oral health routine that you've always done and you should be fine.
With this in mind, there are large risks of complications from poor dental health. These complications could lead to dental implant failure.
Make sure to go to regular dentist's appointments, take good care of your dental hygiene, and avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. Don't do anything that would be "bad" for your "real" teeth.
Brief Pain or Tenderness
The implant process isn't painless, but it's also not terrible. After you get your implants, you will feel some tenderness. This is normal, but for some people, it can be alarming.
You may struggle to eat for a brief period after your surgery. Remember that there are metal anchors fusing with your jaw, so it makes sense that there would be some pain or swelling.
Pain should subside completely in a matter of weeks, but if this isn't the case, speak to your oral surgeon about your options. They will be able to assess your situation and make sure that your implants are in good condition and offer you more advice for healing.
The Potential of Rejection or Failure
As we mentioned before, the majority of All-on-4 dental implants are successful. It's unlikely, but possible, that you'll have a failed set of implants.
There are several reasons this may happen. It's possible that your implants will fail as a result of your oral health. Remember that you need to treat your implants like real teeth.
Sometimes it's just bad luck. If, for some reason, the implant doesn't fuse with the bone, you may need to replace the entire set. This is unlikely but your oral surgeon will be able to help you.
Are All-on-4 Dental Implants Right for You?
All-on-4 dental implants are a fantastic option for anyone who's missing all or most of their teeth. They'll protect your jaw and improve your confidence in a matter of weeks. They're a perfect long-term solution.
If you think that All-on-4 dental implants are a good option for you, it's time to talk to a dental health professional. They'll be able to assess your situation and make sure that you get a picture-perfect smile.
At Montclair Dental Spa, we offer a variety of dental services (including All-on-4 dental implants) that will help you get the smile that you've always wanted. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.