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This four-part article series takes an in-depth look at All-on-Four dental implants, what they are and the various benefits they offer over removable dentures and traditional dental implant protocols.
Prior to the innovation of All on Four implants, a patient’s journey to oral rehabilitation could involve as much as 18 months’ worth of consultations, surgeries and recovery periods. The associated medical bills were prohibitively high and the result was that most edentulous (toothless) and near-edentulous patients opted for that archaic tooth replacement technology; removable dentures. The problem with this is that false teeth, as they are colloquially known, are not only inferior in function and aesthetics to dental implants, they are actually damaging to a patient’s health, well-being and overall quality of life.
It was only in 1993, when All on Four implants were innovated by European implantologist Dr. Paulo Malo, that many of the challenges and obstacles facing traditional dental implant techniques could be overcome. Nowadays, a new set of beautiful, non-removable and immediately functional teeth are possible with the breakthrough All on Four implants protocol. In this four-part article series, we shall be taking an in-depth exploration of this surgical protocol and why patients who are edentulous, or who are facing an immediate future of edentulism should consider All on Four implants as their tooth replacement solution. But first, let’s take a look at All on Four implants… what are they?
What is the All on Four Protocol?
The All on Four protocol, or All-on-4, is a surgical technique that governs the placement of dental implants in a patient’s mouth. It is generally recommended for edentulous and near-edentulous patients who have lost most, if not all of their teeth to periodontal (gum) disease. These are the patients who would formerly be considered candidates for removable dentures. All on Four implants, as the name suggests, involves the permanent attachment of a fully customized prosthetic dental bridge to the abutments of four dental implants per jaw.
These implants are inserted at very precise locations in the mouth (and at very precise angles too) in order to reap maximum support for the bridge without the need for bone grafting surgery first. This additional surgery is frequently required for patients who have lived without teeth and/or dentures for many years. The ability of All on Four implants to almost always avoid the need for bone grafting surgery is perhaps one of its greatest advantages it boasts over traditional dental implant protocols. And this is because:
All on Four Implants and Removable Dentures: What’s the Difference?
Any dentist or dental healthcare professional worth their salt will tell you that dental implants offer a much more comprehensive and long term solution to missing teeth than removable dentures. The latter comes with a whole host of challenges and repeated expenses that, at the end of the day, can severely compromise a patient’s quality of life. In fact, research has shown that the patients who have been wearing dentures for 15 years can only bite down with a force of six pounds per square inch. That’s 97% of one’s natural bite force lost!
The ramifications of this are debilitating and serious: most patients end up eating without their dentures because it’s more comfortable for them. Malnutrition is an associated problem. The difference between All on Four implants and dentures is the difference between being happy, healthy and confident and being miserable, challenged and uncomfortable. And when you consider that long-time denture wearers generally live 10 years shorter than those with healthy teeth, this is no exaggeration!
All on Four Implants: Stay Tuned
To find out what the key differences between All on Four implants and removable dentures are, stay tuned for the second installment of this four-part article series.