The problems that are often associated with dentures are not actually inherent to all dentures, but rather those that do not fit well. Loose dentures can be uncomfortable, restrict one’s diet, slip out of place, and lead to a variety of complications such as bad breath, mouth sores, and fungal infections. Although dentures can be replaced or refitted, this can become quite a hassle over time.
Thankfully, dentures no longer need to rely on simple suction or adhesive paste. In fact, they do not need any sort of topical adhesion at all, as they can be effectively fixed in place just like real teeth. Through the use of a few strategically placed dental implants, dentures can feel, function, and look like a natural smile, giving patients the comfort and convenience they deserve. Our Fort Worth dental office is happy to offer this option to our patients through a technique called All-on-4®, which uses only four implants to hold a denture in place, permanently. Take note of the below information to learn how this process works and whether you may be an ideal candidate for it.
Because dentures are used to replace the entirety of the lower and/or upper dental ridge, patients must be missing most or all of their teeth to warrant replacement. When all teeth are lost, dentures are an ideal form of replacement, as they simultaneously replace an entire smile at once. Compared to individual crowns or even dental bridges, dentures are often regarded as the most efficient and practical form of full replacement. Provided patients are able to have implants installed, anyone in need of full-mouth tooth replacement may be a suitable candidate for All-on-4® dentures.
Like any dental implants, All-on-4®implants require that a patient has healthy enough gum and bone tissue to be successfully installed. For gums, this means little to no gum disease, as any such infection may prevent tissues from fully healing around the implants. For bone, this means having sufficient bone density for the implants to be installed and integrated into the jaw. This is sometimes a limiting factor, as older patients who have experienced tooth loss for years tend to have undergone bone loss in that time.
Still, All-on-4® makes it much easier for patients to have successful implants. Rather than installing each implant straight down, the two furthest implants - near the molars - are installed at an angle toward the front of the jaw, raising the chances of them having enough bone tissue to be held in place. This reduces the chances of needing a bone graft, allowing more patients to undergo treatment immediately.
If you are interested in All-on-4®dentures, it’s also important to consider another way in which they are different from traditional implant-support dentures. That is, All-on-4® dentures are not removable - at least, not by patients at home. They do not just sit over the implants, but they are also fixed with screws that fasten down into the implants. This makes your dentures as close to real teeth as possible: remaining secure and immovable.
However, this also means that All-on-4® dentures require the same level of care as regular teeth. Rather than taking a denture out to brush it or placing it in a cleaning solution, dentures must be brushed in place in order to keep them clean and to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Similarly, patients must maintain excellent hygiene when their implants are initially installed, so that gums remain healthy and can properly adhere to the implants. As long as you have realistic expectations for treatment and are committed to your oral health, you may be an excellent candidate for All-on-4® dentures.
Implant-supported dentures require a good deal of planning and preliminary exams to ensure each patient receives the appropriate size and placement of implants. If you are interested in learning more about our dentures, contact us to schedule your first consultation and exam to explore your treatment options.