Having a full set of teeth and a great smile gives a person self-confidence in the workplace (or when looking for work) and in many different social situations.
However, sometimes we can lose teeth even when we take care of them. There are many different reasons why people are missing teeth including periodontitis, decay or accident.
Replacing the missing teeth
Multiple tooth loss can cause bone deterioration and other serious damage. In such cases, it is very important to replace the missing teeth as soon as possible. In cases of complete lack of teeth, a removable overdenture can be used. However, this can cause discomfort and uncertainty in work and social situations. There are other options, including dental implants over which a bridge can be placed. Not everybody will be able to use this method, if, for example, bone grafting must be first performed so that the bone will be dense enough to support the implants.
The All-on-4™ method
There is also a method invented in 1998 by Dr Paulo Malo called the All-on-4™, which, thanks to using only 4 implants for all the teeth, has made this treatment very attractive expense-wise.
Besides the lower prices, it is also advertised as a method which has lower requirements when it comes to the density of the bone and can be implanted even in cases of significantly deteriorated bone. With the All-on-4™ method, a bridge can be placed the same day the implantation and temporary teeth mounted.
The All-on-4™ disadvantages
This method can be used in cases of missing teeth in the upper or lower jaws, however, contrary to what is advertised you still need bone sufficient density to support the replacement teeth on only 4 implants. Furthermore, very often 6 implants must be used in the upper jaw instead of just 4 because the bone has lesser density than the lower jaw. Other problems occur when, if just one implant fails to fuse with the bone it becomes impossible to place the replacement teeth. In this case, the implant has to be removed and the space prepared once more. It is also difficult to achieve satisfying aesthetic results with All-on-4™ if there is bone loss from the long-term use of dentures.
Besides the disadvantages mention above there are others not mentioned in advertisements or pamphlets. First of all, to do a All-on-4™ the patient needs to have the bone removed. Secondly, if the any teeth have to be removed on the implantation day then bone grafting will be necessary. All-on-4™ is also not recommended for people who have the habit of teeth grinding.
If you decided to do All-on-4™
The best way to approach this is to talk it through with a prosthodontist who will be able to find the best solution for each patient’s individual needs.