- Posted by Dr Alex Loh
- On May 28, 2018
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. A dental implant looks like a metallic or ceramic component that can fuse to the jaw bone. A prosthetic tooth can be then attached to the implant, as a strong and sturdy replacement for the original tooth.
You may have heard of a technique called “All-On-4”, where every single tooth is replaced on one of the jaws, by having a whole arch of prosthetic teeth supported and permanently attached to only four implants. “All-On-4” is a great solution for some situations, but there are many cases where this is not ideal nor desirable!
The whole of arch prosthetic teeth needs a lot of space to fit into the mouth. If someone has been missing their teeth for quite a while, the jaw bone naturally resorbs away over time, and then there can create enough room to fit the prosthetic teeth in. However, if there is still a lot of jaw bone present, quite a substantial part of the jaw bone would need to be removed to make room for the dental prosthesis. Not every implant is successful, and sometimes it may be necessary to go back to wearing dentures for a while. If the jaw bone that normally supports the dentures is removed as part of the “All-On-4” procedure, there will be no backup option for replacement of teeth!
In many cases, the prosthetic teeth of “All-On-4” are made of acrylic, which is a type of plastic. This is the same material that plastic dentures are made out of. While the acrylic may look smooth and shiny, under a microscope, the material is porous, not unlike a sponge. These pores can be a great place for bacteria to hide and grow, where even a toothbrush will be unable to clean. This is not a problem for dentures that can be taken out of the mouth and soaked in disinfectant, but can be an issue for “All-On-4” cases where they are permanently screwed in place and can’t be removed. The acrylic material, being made of plastic, is much more likely to fracture after repeated cycles of chewing!
Lastly, sometimes if upper teeth have been missing for an extended period of time, the jaw bone can slowly resorb away making the upper lip look very flat. “All-On-4” may not be able to restore the natural full upper lip appearance that most people desire!
In summary, there an many different options for replacing all the teeth in one, or even both jaws in the mouth using dental implants, not just “All-On-4”. Make sure you know all about your options, and their advantages and disadvantages, before starting any treatment.
If you are interested in knowing more about ways to replace teeth with dental implants, feel free to call eDentistry Wantirna on (03) 9800 1184 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a chat with us.