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Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans have untreated tooth decay, and almost half are at risk of tooth loss due to gum disease?
If you’re missing teeth from untreated cavities or injuries, you may be looking at dental implants as a permanent tooth replacement option. If you’re missing multiple teeth in a row, you’ll need to learn more about all on 4 implants. These types of implants use new technology, making for a quicker and easier procedure.
Keep reading this guide to learn what you need to know about all on 4 implants to see if they’re the right choice for you!
What Is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants serve as artificial tooth roots. They have titanium posts that are drilled into your jawbone. These titanium posts give artificial teeth a solid foundation to attach to.
Traditionally, most people get specific types of implants depending on their needs, such as:
- Single dental implants
- Multiple dental implants
- Implant-supported bridges
- Implant-supported dentures
Implants and Dental Bone Grafts
With these types of dental implants, you need to have enough jawbone available to support the implants. If you don’t have enough jawbone due to conditions like osteoporosis or missing teeth, you’ll need to get a dental bone graft before you can get implant surgery.
Dental bone grafts usually use an autograft, which is bone from your own body, like the thigh bone. The material is then placed into the area of bone loss in your jaw so that it can regenerate and grow more bone.
Usually, getting implants is a multi-step process. You’ll first need a procedure to place the implant in your jawbone.
You’ll need to wait at least 3 to 4 months for the jawbone to grow around the implant. This process, known as osseointegration, makes the implant secure enough to hold artificial teeth.
You’ll then need abutments or posts placed to hold the artificial tooth. It takes at least 1 to 2 months to heal from this before your dentist can put the permanent tooth in place.
Traditional implants can take up to 6 to 8 months for the entire process due to healing times and the need for other procedures like bone grafts.
All on 4 Implants
All on 4 implants are a newer option for people missing multiple teeth in a row and are a type of implant-supported denture.
Single or multiple implants can only hold up to 3 to 4 teeth. All on 4 implants involve 4 implants that are specifically placed around your jaw. They have the ability to support an entire row of teeth on either the top or bottom.
As opposed to regular implants, all on 4 implants go in the jawbone at a 45-degree angle toward the back of your mouth. They’re also placed in an area of the jaw that has more bone density overall.
As a result, people with less jaw bone can often get all on 4 implants without needing a dental bone grafting procedure. Additionally, all on 4 implants can be done on the same day. You’ll typically leave the procedure with artificial teeth in place and then return for permanent placement.
All on 4 Implant Surgery
Your first step to getting all on 4 implants is to find an experienced dentist or oral surgeon in your area. When you’re searching Google for an oral surgeon near me, be sure they have experience with placing all on 4 implants specifically.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will review your overall dental health and examine the area of missing teeth. You’ll typically have dental X-rays to assess your jawbone’s overall condition and check for damage to any other teeth. You might also need tooth extractions before you can get implants placed.
Your dentist will review your medical history, medications, and current health problems. Doing this will determine if you’re a good candidate for all on 4 implants.
Before the dental procedure begins, you’ll receive medication to numb the gum area. You’ll also be able to choose other sedation options, such as nitrous oxide or IV sedation medications.
Your oral surgeon will perform the necessary tooth extractions and make incisions in your gums for the implants. The implant post screws into the jawbone, and a connector attaches to the implant, which will hold the artificial teeth.
If you need any bone grafting, you’ll have it done at this stage. Finally, your oral surgeon will stitch your gums closed. Temporary teeth (dentures) go onto the implants during the healing process.
Recovery and Healing
There is an initial recovery period of 72 hours, where you’ll need to rest and not engage in strenuous activities. Ice packs and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen will reduce swelling. You may also have to take antibiotics to prevent an infection from occurring.
You might experience swelling, redness, and mild bleeding from your gums for the first 24 hours. Practicing good dental care by using salt water mouthwashes and keeping your mouth clean is essential.
Your oral surgeon will recommend a soft diet for the first 1 to 2 months after surgery. You’ll need to stick to mashed or pureed foods that require minimal chewing. Mashed potatoes, eggs, and protein shakes are good options.
Soft foods reduce discomfort and allow the jawbone to grow around the implant without complications.
Usually, after 3 to 6 months, the bone healing will be complete, and your permanent set of teeth can be put into place.
Talk to a Dentist About All on 4 Implants
Now that you know more about all on 4 implants, you can start looking for a dentist or oral surgeon in your area that offers this option.
Do your research, and be sure to schedule a consultation to discuss the procedure and cost in more detail. Before you know it, you’ll be smiling confidently once again.
To learn more helpful dental health, and other transplant & implant-related tips, check out the rest of our blog today!