When all of the teeth in the upper or lower arch need to be replaced, a full arch dental implant is one option. A full arch dental implant is also referred to as implant supported dentures or all-on-4. Patients with severe tooth decay or gum disease may need a full arch replacement, and dental implants provide a secure option.
Anywhere from 4 to 6 dental implants are placed in the jaw to act as anchors for full arch dentures. Dentures can be fixed or removable, depending on your needs and preference. Either the upper or lower jaw can be fitted with implant supported dentures, or in many cases both, depending on your needs.
What is a Dental Implant?
To understand how a full arch dental implant works, it helps to understand how a single dental implant works. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium that is surgically placed in the jaw bone. Titanium is a biocompatible material that is capable of fusing with the bone in your jaw through a process called osseointegration. Once osseointegration takes place, the implant is securely bonded to the bone and is capable of lasting for the rest of your life. The bond is strong enough that a few dental implants can support an entire arch of dentures.
Benefits of a Full Arch Dental Implant
There are many benefits to getting a full arch dental implant, or implant supported dentures:
- More secure than traditional dentures. Implant supported dentures are solidly anchored by the implants in your jaw. They won’t slip out of place when you eat or talk the way traditional dentures can, and you won’t need any messy denture adhesives.
- Implants preserve jaw bone structure. Dental implants fuse with the bone in your jaw, taking the place of your natural tooth roots. This prevents the jaw bone from weakening and dissolving the way it can when multiple or all of the teeth are missing.
- Fewer implants reduces the cost. Implant supported dentures only require 4-6 dental implants, which costs less than replacing all of the teeth with implants. Each individual implant comes at a cost, so the fewer you have the lower your overall procedure cost.
- Easy to care for. Whether you get removable or fixed dentures, they are easy to care for. For fixed dentures you can simply brush them like you would your natural teeth, taking care to clean between the dentures and your gums with a special brush or water flosser. For removable dentures, you simply remove them to clean them the way you would with traditional dentures.
What’s the Difference Between Implant Supported Dentures and All-on-4?
There are a few basic differences between these two types of full arch dental implants. Implant supported dentures typically use 6 dental implants, whereas all-on-4 only uses 4. In most cases all-on-4 dentures are fixed, whereas implant supported dentures can be fixed or removable. all-on-4 dentures can usually be placed in one day, but implant supported dentures are more steady and secure. There are advantages and disadvantages of both. To determine which type is best for you, your dentist can perform an evaluation and discuss the options with you before making a recommendation.
Christopher J. Couri, DDS, MS Provides Full Arch Dental Implants
If you need full arch replacement teeth, Dr. Couri provides implant supported dentures and all-on-4. We will assess the condition of your teeth and jaw to determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for full arch dental implants.