When you're missing multiple teeth or need to have all your teeth removed, you have several options: dentures, individual implants or All on 4 Dental Implants. Although the All on 4 Implants are the most effective in terms of time, appearance and longevity, the cost concerns many patients. Here's why the All on 4 Dental Implants are worth the cost.
Comparing Your Options - Surgery
Dentures, individual implants and All on 4 Dental Implants all require a surgical procedure. In the case of dentures, the surgery is primarily to remove the teeth; for the other two procedures surgery is necessary to place the implants in the bone of the jaw. Some patients are fitted immediately with dentures, but may require a second set for proper fit once healing is complete. Individual implants are inserted separately – one for each tooth – and the prosthetic tooth is attached to the implant. All on 4 are inserted in one procedure and all the prosthetic teeth are attached at one time. A healing period is required for all procedures.
Dentures are the least costly of the available options. However, they have some distinct disadvantages. Although they are removable, they can break if dropped. They may be noticeable when you smile or talk. Many people find they must modify their diets with dentures, as there are certain foods they can't eat. Dentures can be dislodged or slip, even when you use adhesives. Most important, dentures don't provide compression on the jawbone when you chew, which is what helps keep the bone dense and healthy. If the bone and gums shrink, you'll need new dentures.
About Individual Implants
When you're missing a single tooth, an individual implant is a great choice. The implant can be inserted in a single procedure and the prosthetic tooth can be color-matched to existing teeth. Once healing is complete, the implant is treated just like a natural tooth in terms of cleaning. Although you should avoid chewing hard candies and ice cubes, you can eat your usual diet. The implant helps keep the bone in the jaw healthy as it allows compression when you chew. For multiple missing teeth, however, you'll need at least six and often eight implants both top and bottom.
All on 4 Implants
An All on 4 is the best choice to replace multiple missing teeth. Four implants are inserted in a single procedure and a temporary bridge immediately attached to the implants – literally new teeth in one day. All on 4 immediately improve your appearance and eliminate health issues related to problematic teeth, such as decay or bone loss. Once healing is complete, you can eat almost anything (you should still avoid hard candies as they can break the prosthetic teeth). You care for your implants just as you would your natural teeth. All on 4 are more secure than individual implants as they can be placed at a slant for more bone contact. The implant itself may last a lifetime, although the prosthetic crown may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years.
There's no question that All on 4 are more expensive than traditional dentures. What they offer in terms of jawbone health, improved appearance and ease of care makes them worth it for many patients. Compared to traditional individual implants, All on 4 Implants are actually considerably less expensive, according to a 2014 study that compared the two systems. The All on 4 Dental Implant system was also less time-consuming. Implant costs can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, the dentist's experience, quality, customization and the type of implant. Dental insurance may cover part of the costs and most dentists offer payment plans or other options.
Your dental health is important to your overall health. The initial cost of All on 4 Dental Implants is balanced by the significant improvement in your dental health, your enhanced appearance, the ease of oral hygiene, your ability to eat favorite foods and the actual cost when spread over the lifetime of the implants.