All About All-on-4® Treatment Concept
Dentures are a tale as old as time; scientists are continuously finding remains some thousands of years old, with an attempt of someone trying to restore missing teeth. From shell to wood, to metal, the objective has been clear. People want, and need, functioning teeth. The problem has always been that the various options of restored teeth have never been a good option. From George Washington’s wooden dentures to the concept of the elderly person who constantly loses their chompers, dentures have never been known for either their comfort or function.
The biggest hassle with dentures is supporting them so that they stay in place. From suction to adhesives, there was just no good way to keep those dentures still. They slip, rock around in your mouth causing sore spots, reduce your sensation of taste by covering the roof of your mouth, and sometimes even fall out at the most embarrassing of times. Patients who wear traditional dentures find that they stop eating a large variety of foods, and keep their social engagements limited. Dentures have never been comfortable, but now, they can be. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept doesn’t rely on any outside source to keep your dentures in place, they rely on the same thing your natural teeth did, your jawbone.
Why should I have my dentures surgically retained?Surgically retained dentures, with the All-on-4® Treatment Concept, are considerably more comfortable than loose dentures. They provide our patients the gift of being able to forget they're even there.
Implant retained dentures will provide you:
How does the All-on-4® Treatment Concept work?The All-on-4® Treatment Concept retains your dentures using dental implants. A dental implant is a titanium post that resembles a screw in shape and size. Your periodontist surgically places the implant directly into the jaw bone. This may sound extreme, but the science is fascinating. Before you lost your natural tooth, your tooth was retained, or held in place, with the tooth root. The root is the connecting piece between your tooth and jaw, and it was an important piece.
The root served a function, it not only served as a middleman, but it also helped keep your jawbone healthy. Your jawbone, just like all of your bone, requires motion and exercise to stay healthy. We exercise the jaw by using it to chew food and when talking. How the jaw knows it is getting exercised is when we apply pressure on our teeth, that pressure is then transferred through the root and to the bone. As we chew food and talk, we are moving and stimulating the jaw. This motion signals the cells to continue to send resources to this area and keep the bone healthy and robust. When this connective piece, the root, is gone, then even if the patient is wearing false teeth, there is nothing to pass the movements to the jaw and the jaw is no longer being exercised. The jaw will lose considerable mass if it is not exercised, just as any other part of your body would. In the first year of losing that connection, your jaw will lose up to 25% of its size. The resulting damage is a smaller, older appearance in your facial structure.
We can rebuild the connection between your jaw and a false tooth, and help rebuild the mass of your jawbone, with the placement of a dental implant. A dental implant restores the root of the tooth. With the root restored, the new titanium root can once again transfer the motion of chewing, exercising the jaw while also serving as a post for your new dental appliance to be securely attached to. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept uses several implants, meaning that we are placing several points of contact with your jaw, meaning several points for a motion to be transferred resulting in not only secure dentures, but a healthier jaw too.
The next part of this procedure is how the implant stays in place, and this is where science continues to amaze. The dental implant is made of titanium; we use titanium because it is a strong metal that is lightweight. Additionally, it is biocompatible. This biocompatibility means that your body will not reject it, in fact, it will heal around it. As the bone heals from the insertion of the implant, your bone will create connective lines, healing to and around the implant, essentially bonding the implant to the bone. Once fully healed, the implant is not just a metal device that has been inserted, it is now a part of the bone. For you, this means that the implant is firmly in place, it will not come out. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept, uses between 4 and 6 dental implants in each arch, depending on your needs, to hold the denture device in place. Your periodontist will assess your needs before treatment and discuss the number of implants needed for your situation.
For most implant procedures it is necessary to first bulk up the bone with a bone graft, especially if the tooth has been missing for a year or more. This is not true with the All-on-4® Treatment Concept. This specific treatment uses dental implants that are longer in size because we want to reach thicker, denser bone. This description may sound harrowing, but the entire procedure is not known for being terribly uncomfortable for the patient. Most patients comment that it was easier than they predicted.
The result will be teeth that are permanently in your mouth. No adhesives, no clasps, no suction, and no covering the roof of your mouth. Your teeth are permanently retained to surgically placed posts. With a little patience while healing and a bit of practice, you will be able to chew and speak as you once did. You will never have to remove your denture while you sleep because they are fixed in your mouth.
Same Day TeethThe placement of your denture device using the All-on-4® Treatment Concept is all about the planning, the execution of the procedure will take only a couple of hours, which is where this procedure gets its title of same day teeth. The planning for your minimally invasive surgical treatment begins with 3D digital x-rays. We want to make precise measurements and create a map that will be used for placing your dental implants. Precision in this matter is key—you want a dentist that you can trust. Dental implants have become a rapidly growing business, and many dentists have caught on, but this treatment needs to be handled by a dentist who is confident and knowledgeable in this procedure. Our doctors have the experience and training to accurately place your dental implants.
An important step in creating your treatment plan is being aware of your entire health. We will ask you questions concerning medications you are taking, if you smoke or chew tobacco, consume heavy amounts of alcohol and other health related questions. It is important to share any and all information with your periodontist, even if it seems irrelevant to your mouth, as there are conditions that can lead to the failure of your implant procedure. For the implant procedure to be successful, the patient needs to be able to heal in a timely matter. There are certain medical and health conditions that can decrease your rate of healing. These conditions will not stop us from being able to perform the surgery, but we may need to take precautions or make adjustments with your personal physician before surgery.
We can use the denture that you already have or customize a new denture for you for placement. Our doctors are happy to work with you on being aware of your needs, both medical needs, and financial needs. With a treatment plan, including a detailed map, we are ready to begin.
The All-on-4® Treatment Concept is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgical process is done in office, in most cases, a local anesthetic is all that is necessary to keep the patient comfortable, though we will review your options with you before surgery and make a decision based on your needs. The entire procedure should be completed within a couple of hours. After numbing, the tissue will be opened, and then a specialized drill is used to make the space needed in the bone. The implant is then placed, and the soft tissue is sutured closed. Your denture is secured in the place with between four and six dental implants.
Following surgery, most patients can find the needed pain relief with an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. We are happy to discuss your options and make recommendations based on your needs. If you require a prescribed pain relief, you can discuss that with your periodontist and we will review your options with you. A majority of our patients have been surprised at how easy the process of getting their dentures retained ended up being. Though the process sounds complicated, it ended up being easier than it seemed.
Post SurgeryFollowing your implant procedure, will be a period of healing. Our office will send you home with detailed instructions and include what you should expect over the next few months. There are two parts to the healing process:
The first part will be the healing of the soft tissues. Immediately following surgery your soft tissues will be sore and irritated. During the first few days, you will want to be aware of excessive bleeding or signs of infection. If you experience anything out of the ordinary, please contact our staff at Cassity & Legacy Implants and Periodontics, we are happy to answer questions and schedule an appointment if needed. In most situations, our patients find that the initial discomfort following surgery subsides within a few days. Patients can resume normal daily activities within 2–3 days, including returning to work. Part of your discomfort during this time will be adjusting to having a mouthful of teeth again; it will grow easier as you grow more comfortable.
The second part of healing involves the healing of the bone. This is the time when the bone begins to grow and subsequently fuse the implant to the bone. This period of healing will take longer. For about three months you will need to eat and use your teeth with caution. We will recommend eating soft foods during this time, avoiding foods that are tough, sticking or crunchy. We do not want the implants to be jarred during this important time of healing.
After your periodontist has determined that your denture is firmly in place, you will be able to enjoy your new teeth, just as you enjoyed the natural teeth you once had. The gift of freedom is the best part of this process. Your implant retained dentures will continue to feel increasingly natural to you as you use them.