What are Dental Implants? What is All-on-4? Can I restore my smile?

South Jersey periodontist, Dr. Meltzer and Dr. Isleem smiling for a picture.

Missing natural teeth can cause a lot of problems. Not only do missing teeth affect one’s facial esthetics and smile, but they also create difficulty speaking and eating normally. That is why it is essential to get your missing teeth replaced as soon as possible. 

If you are tired of wearing your inconvenient, unesthetic, and uncomfortable complete dentures, and you’re looking for a reliable and long-term solution, then dental implants should be your first choice. Before discussing how you can get all your missing teeth replaced with all-on-four implant-supported prostheses, let us understand what implants are and how they work.

What is a Dental Implant?

According to the American Dental Association, an implant is a screw-shaped fixture that your dentist will insert into the jawbone to function as a replacement root. Once the implants have completely anchored themselves within the jawbone, they offer a firm foundation to support the artificial teeth. 

You might be wondering why dental implants are so popular? This is because they are the most durable and have the highest success rate among all tooth replacement options. Dental implants are made from titanium alloys that possess a unique capability of promoting bone formation around them. As a result, they form an intimate contact and virtually become a part of the bone tissue – just like a tooth root. This process is known as osseointegration,  and it forms the basis for the success of dental implants. According to the American College of Prosthodontics, dental implants have a success rate of more than 90%.

What is All-on-Four & All-on-Six?

All-on-Four refers to a complete fixed bridge that is supported by dental implants. One of the best things about dental implants is that you don’t need an implant for each missing tooth. If you have lost all your natural teeth in a jaw, your dentist will replace them with a fixed bridge  supported by only four implants – two in the front and two in the middle. This type of prosthesis is known as an all-on-four Fixed Hybrid Prosthesis

What is the Dental Implant Procedure?

During the first appointment, your dentist will perform a clinical examination to ascertain your eligibility for getting all-on-four. They will also look at your dental records and x-ray images to prepare a detailed treatment plan. In the next appointment, your dentist will make an incision over the soft tissues that cover the jawbone and drill holes at pre-determined sites for implant insertion. Afterward, they will carefully screw in each implant, cover it with a healing cap and suture the soft tissue back. The entire will be performed under sedation so that it will be completely painless. 

This surgical site will be left undisturbed to ensure optimal healing. In the meantime, your dentist will place a temporary prosthesis over the implants so that your facial esthetics are not affected and your smile restoration can start! In some cases, dentists choose to attach the permanent prosthesis immediately after implant insertion. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for immediate implant loading. 

After a few months, once the implant site has completely healed, your dentist will attach a complete fixed bridge over the implants. That’s it. You are now a proud owner of a brand-new, beautiful smile. 

What are the Advantages of All-on-X Dental Implants over Other Options?

  • Durability – unlike the removable dentures and conventional bridges, implant-supported prostheses are considerably stronger and more durable. While traditional dentures require frequent replacement and repairs, your implant-supported prosthesis will serve you for a long time. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, your implants can last for a lifetime if you look after them and maintain good oral hygiene. 
  • Conveniencewith dental implants, you can eat your favorite foods without any difficulty, unlike the removable dentures. The implants are anchored firmly into the jawbone. Therefore, they – and the artificial teeth they support – will not move when you eat anything. Dental implant-supported prostheses also restore your ability to speak clearly and comfortably. 
  • No Need for Additional Surgical Procedure – the success of dental implants depends highly on the quality of the underlying jawbone. If the bone tissue is not healthy or strong enough, it will not be able to support an implant. So, dental implants are  usually are not given to people who have insufficient jawbone. Alternatively, people with low-quality jawbone have to undergo a bone grafting or sinus lift procedure to ensure  sufficient bone tissue is available to support an implant. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, This problem has been solved with all-on-four implants. Even if someone does not have sufficient jawbone available, your dentist will strategically place the implants – so that they can still get anchored. In this way, the all-on-four implant-supported bridges save you from expensive and time-consuming surgical procedures. 
  • Bone Conservation – One of the most significant problems associated with conventional dentures is that they exert pressure on the underlying bone tissue when you wear them. As a result, the bone starts to degenerate faster and becomes weaker and brittle over time. This reduction in the quality and density of the jawbones also affects one’s facial profile, resulting in increases and facial wrinkles that make one look much older. Thanks to osseointegration, dental implants prevent bone resorption. In fact, they promote bone formation, thereby preserving your smile and jawbone health.
  • Safety – titanium implants and zirconia or ceramic crowns used for tooth replacement are safe for use in the oral cavity. Unlike the resin or metal-based removable dentures and bridges that leach harmful products and carry a risk of inflammation and allergy, dental implants are completely safe and don’t cause any untoward reaction.

Will All-on-X Restore My Smile?

Dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. When all-on-four implant-supported prostheses and planned and fabricated by an experienced and qualified dentist in New Jersey, they will not only restore optimal dental function but also give you an attractive smile. Your dentist will use high-quality and aesthetically pleasing zirconia crowns for replacing missing teeth with implants. A skilled and experienced dental laboratory technician can precisely match the color and shade of the zirconia teeth with that of natural ones. As a result, your new teeth will blend in perfectly and become indistinguishable from your natural ones. 

Did you know that cosmetic dentists also use dental implants, among other cosmetic options, to perform complete smile makeovers? An all-on-four prosthesis will also uplift your facial muscles, reducing wrinkles and creases to give you a more healthy and youthful appearance. So, dental implants offer the best aesthetic results when compared with other tooth replacement options. 

Millions of implants are inserted every year around the world to fix flawed smiles. Don’t let your missing teeth affect your smile and self-confidence. Talk to your New Jersey dentist today to get a full-mouth smile makeover with all-on-four implants. 

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