We are all familiar with the importance of brushing and flossing every day as well as regular dental visits for healthy teeth and a bright smile. More than pearly whites, however, diligent oral care directly impacts your body’s overall health and in fact contributes to extending your lifespan.
But certain life events or habits—smoking, damaged or decaying teeth, medical conditions—can deteriorate your teeth, gums, and facial structure as a whole. When this happens, it might be time to consider dental implants.
What are dental implants and how do I know if I need them?
Simply defined, dental implants are oral-specific medical foundations used in place of missing teeth. These implants take the place of a tooth’s natural root and support a variety of dental prostheses including crowns and bridges.
Is there a defining moment that signals a cue to opt for dental implants? In many cases, a missing tooth is the call. If you lose a tooth, the resulting scenario is more than simply the nuisance of having to dig out that corn on the cob from a summer picnic. Your teeth provide critical nutrients to your body and facial structure and without those nutrients, bone material surrounding the area of the missing tooth weakens and shrinks; potentially up to 25 percent within one year.
The short story is our bones require calcium to properly function and provide their intended support but if the jawbone is in a state of distress it will signal the body to pilfer calcium from the jaw. This is called resorption and left unchecked can cause decreasing gum size, sunken cheeks, and other sagging facial features that contribute to a much older appearance.
Dental implants are fantastic medical options that can restore a vibrant facial look and one effective procedure is All on 4 implants.
What are All on 4 dental implants?
All for one and one for all? All aboard? The name might sound confusing but All on 4 is a catchy moniker for a comprehensive dental procedure involving full arches. “All” refers to all teeth in an upper or lower set. “4” is the number of implants required to hold the arch in place. Put it together and All on 4 means a full set of upper or lower teeth anchored by four dental implants.
For example, instead of replacing several missing teeth one at a time; a dentist can place a full set all at once. Sounds like a great option, right? Let’s look at some benefits of this “all in” procedure.
Benefits of All on 4 dental implants
All on 4 dental implants bring an array of benefits for patients, the most popular being the ability to restore a full arch of teeth at one appointment. This drastically reduces the number of procedures required and cuts way down on time spent in a dentist chair.
The All on 4 method also helps limit the need for bone grafts in cases of jaw bone loss. It is of course more difficult to replace missing teeth with less bone material to work with but with only four implants needed, a dentist can be choosy in selecting the strongest existing bone without grafting.
Am I a good candidate for All on 4 dental implants?
Another great benefit of All on 4 implants is they cater to many different types of patients. Of course, people who have lost many or even all of their teeth are good candidates, as are those who need to have teeth removed for certain reasons. Patients who have suffered bone loss can also benefit greatly from the All on 4 procedure.
This procedure is also popular with patients who tend to be anxious at the dentist, even with general checkups. All on 4 requires far less surgery than multiple tooth replacements and this is good news for those who shy away from extended medical outings.
Budgetary concerns also come into play for many people and to that end, All on 4 is a very cost-effective approach for replacing and entire set of teeth.
Some people or particular situations limit the candidacy of All on 4. If a jaw bone is too weak, for instance, additional strengthening procedures might be required. A healthy immune system and overall good health are also important.
Consult with your dentist to make a sound and strategic decision.