Until recently, if you wanted to fix major dental issues such as a full set of broken or missing teeth, it required a complex and lengthy process involving multiple surgeries, 8 to 10 implants per jaw, extensive bone grafting, and trips back and forth to different dentists and specialists. Patients had no choice but to endure a complicated, stressful, and frustrating experience to regain their smile and confidence. The good news is that today there’s a better way! All-On-4 is a revolutionary solution for people looking to fix their smiles while avoiding extra surgeries, bone grafting, and trips to the specialist. With just 4 specially designed implants and the latest advancements in dental implant technology, 3D scanning, and 3D printing, you can now get a whole new set of teeth in one office, with one doctor, and in just one day.
Imagine walking into our office in the morning with a broken down smile, and just a few hours later walking out with a full set of teeth supported by dental implants that looks beautiful, feels natural, and never needs to be removed!
There are typically two types of people who opt for All-On-4: those with severely damaged teeth hoping to “turn back the clock” on decades of dental problems, and those who hate their dentures and are looking for a more permanent, natural, and comfortable solution. All-On-4 can be life-changing for these kinds of people, because it offers them a to smile, eat, and live confidently again.
But is All-On-4 too good to be true? Let’s dive deeper into a topic you rarely hear dentists talk about – What are the downsides, disadvantages, and pros and cons of All-On-4?
Every surgery carries risks, whether it’s in your mouth, or your elbow, or your toes. An experienced dentist will coordinate with your family doctor to determine if you’re healthy enough to undergo All-On-4 surgery, and if any medication adjustments or extra precautions are needed.
An experienced implant dentist knows that one of the keys to minimizing risks during your All-On-4 dental implant surgery is to keep the surgery as quick and simple as possible. They do this by pre-planning your surgery using state-of-the-art 3D scans and 3D printers. It’s like doing a trial surgery on the computer before it’s time for the real thing. Since all this homework is done ahead of time, when it comes time for your surgery, your visit is quicker and safer, and the healing afterwards is much faster.
With older methods, 8 to 10 implants were needed to support a full set of teeth. So, how can just 4 implants provide the same support? The answer lies in two key factors:
1. The implants used for All-On-4 are specifically designed for extra stabilization and strength. Dental technology has evolved rapidly, much like advancements in electric cars, cell phones, and artificial intelligence. Today’s advanced implants are better, stronger, and more stable, making it possible to support a full set of teeth with fewer implants. Some experts even argue that using just 4 of these new implants is even stronger than 10 of the older ones.
2. There isn’t just one way to do All-On-4. There are lots of variations and different types of All-On-4, some of them using 5 or 6 implants instead of 4. An experienced implant dentist knows how to balance adding more implants for extra strength and stability, but not adding too many that it increases surgical risks or long term complications.
While All-On-4 is a life-changing solution for people who are suffering from a lifetime of embarrassment when they smile, or discomfort when they eat, one of the disadvantages of All-On-4 is that it is not affordable for everyone.
Even though the revolutionary new All-On-4 solution has simplified the way we replace a full set of teeth with full mouth dental implants, it will never be considered “cheap.”
When budgeting for All-On-4, it’s a good idea to budget as if you’re buying a car. You could get a decent used car that gets you around town in the $15k range, or you could splurge and get something with more bells and whistles in the $25-50k range. Similarly, there isn’t just one way to do All-On-4. There are lots of ways, depending on which “bells and whistles” are most important to you, and which ones you can do without. An experienced dentist has lots of tools in their toolbelt so that they can customize your All-On-4 action plan to find the best balance between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.
Most people take a day off from work or their regular routine for their All-On-4 appointment. The procedure usually begins in the morning and takes a few hours. After the visit, you can expect to feel soreness for a few days, gradually improving over the following weeks. Most of our patients tell us that they have moderate discomfort for a couple of days, managing the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol. By day three, most patients feel much better. When you visit an experienced All-On-4 dentist, they will provide more specific tips and tricks to manage your recovery and help you heal faster, based on your unique situation.
After undergoing your All-On-4 visit, you will leave the dental office with a brand-new set of teeth supported by dental implants. Although your teeth may feel secure, they are not yet fully healed. It takes 3-4 months for your implants to heal, during which time you should stick to a soft food diet.
A good rule of thumb is that “soft foods” are ones that you can cut with a fork with one hand. If you need a knife and fork and both hands to eat something, it’s probably best to avoid those foods for now until your implants and bone have healed more.
You will be tempted to chew harder, stickier, or chewier foods, but try to avoid overstressing your implants during the healing period. Doing so can lead to bone loss, additional surgeries, and complications, much like going for a run on a broken leg before it has properly healed.
Dental implants, including All-On-4, are one of the most successful procedures in dentistry, with a success rate even higher than that of some basic dental treatments like crowns and root canals.
However, the fine print is that implants work great… as long as you do them in the right situation by the right dentist.
Multiple studies have shown that the long-term success rate of All-On-4 full mouth dental implants ranges between 95-99%.
Although All-On-4 has a high success rate (95-99% according to most scientific studies), certain factors can increase the risk of complications:
• Uncontrolled diabetes
• Severe osteoporosis
• Not adhering to a soft food diet during healing
• Failing to keep your new teeth and implants clean during healing
If you have these conditions, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get dental implants or All-On-4. But an experienced dentist will be able to identify any red flags in your situation and provide tips and tricks to increase your chances of successful healing.
While All-On-4 implants have a success rate of over 95%, there is still a small chance of poor healing. In the event that you fall within the unlucky 5% and your All-On-4 implants don’t heal well, what happens next depends on the specifics of your situation.
In the worst-case scenario, which is extremely rare (less than 0.02% of cases), there may be massive bone loss, where the implants have not healed at all. In these extreme cases, it might be necessary to go back and redo much of the work that has already been done.
On the other hand, if you have only minor bone loss, or if you have 5 or 6 implants placed and just 1 or 2 of them fail to heal properly, it might be possible to proceed with the remaining strong implants. The failed implants can either be ignored or replaced later, depending on the circumstances.
This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to work with a dentist you trust and that you have a lot of confidence in. When things don’t go as planned, that trust and confidence will be tested, and the last thing you want is to be left with a mouthful of more problems than you started, or a pile of extra bills that you didn’t expect and can’t afford.
During the first few months after your surgery, you will be on a soft food diet. You should stick to soft foods that can be cut with a fork and do not require a knife.
The good news is that once fully healed, you can eat virtually anything you want with your All-On-4 teeth! These teeth are rock-solid and built to last, allowing you to enjoy foods like corn on the cob, crunchy apples, and chewy bread without worry. The primary goal of All-On-4 is to provide teeth that look amazing and function exceptionally well for chewing. So go ahead and enjoy your meals, just as you would if you had a full set of natural teeth again!
Absolutely! Every dentist has their own workflow, so we will describe how we do it at our All-On-4 centre in Hamilton, ON. The process starts at the very beginning by understanding exactly what you like and dislike about your current teeth. Providing old photos of yourself or even images of smiles you admire can serve as a helpful starting point.
Next comes the Smile Test Drive. The first step in the Smile Test Drive process is capturing 3D scans of your teeth and smile. These scans allow your dentist to create a detailed and accurate computerized model of your current smile. You’ll be amazed as you zoom, rotate, and fly around your teeth from all angles, making it much easier for you and your dentist to be on the same page about what improvements you’d like to see.
Once your 3D model is ready, your dentist will work with you to create a “Virtual Before and After” – a computerized simulation of what your smile will look like after your cosmetic dentistry procedures. This is where the magic happens! You and your dentist will collaborate, making adjustments to the design – moving teeth, changing their shape, size, color, and more – until you achieve the perfect look that you’ve always wanted.
But the Smile Test Drive doesn’t stop there. Once you’re happy with your virtual design, your dentist will 3D print a replica of your new smile that you can actually wear over your own teeth. This allows you to see how your new smile will look and feel in real life, and it gives you the opportunity to request any final tweaks before moving forward with the procedures.
A Smile Test Drive is like getting the opportunity to try out a new hairstyle before committing to the change!
Your hairdresser only wishes they could do that for you. They can’t, but when it comes to your All-On-4 smile…. an experienced dentist can!
Trying to predict how long your All-On-4 will last is like trying to predict how long someone’s teeth are going to last. We’ve met people in their 20’s that needed all their teeth removed due to decay and gum disease. And on the other hand, we also have patients in their 90’s with a full set of healthy, beautiful teeth!
What we can tell you for certain though is that All-On-4 is designed to be a long-term solution.
While it’s not accurate to call it a “lifetime” solution, as nothing lasts forever, All-On-4 is the most permanent and longest-lasting option that modern dentistry can offer.
All-On-4 implants are designed to provide you with a beautiful, healthy, and comfortable smile for decades.
In the long run, you may need help with your All-On-4 implants or new teeth for these issues:
1. Chipped or broken teeth: The materials used for All-On-4 implants, whether resin, zirconia, or a combination, are the strongest and most durable materials available. However, they are not indestructible. If you bite on something hard enough to break your natural teeth, you could also break your artificial replacement teeth.
2. Staining or discolouration: An experienced dentist will design and fabricate your All-On-4 teeth to minimize the risk of staining, but it can still happen. Typically, stains can be polished away, similar to cleaning stains from your natural teeth.
3. Loose or moving parts: Your All-On-4 teeth should be rock-solid with no movement. If you feel something moving while eating or cleaning, visit your dentist. If the movement is due to a broken implant or bone loss, then you might need additional surgery to fix it, which can be complicated and expensive. That would be worst case scenario. But almost always it’s an easy 10-minute fix to tighten down your teeth again.
4. Gum or bone infections: All-On-4 is great for people who have a history of breaking their natural teeth over and over again, and getting cavities over and over again. Since All-On-4 replaces your teeth, you won’t have any more problems with broken teeth or cavities. But since your implants are attached to your gums and bone, you can still get infection in your gums and bone. If you get a really bad infection in your bone, it can cause bone loss around the implants, and then that can become a major problem which requires surgery or even a new implant to fix. If you catch the infection early, then almost always it can be managed like a mild gum infection around your natural teeth – with extra cleaning, disinfection by the dentist, and medication.
Three primary factors impact how long your All-On-4 implants and new teeth will last:
1. Just like your natural teeth, it’s important to clean around your new teeth and implants. The best way to do that is with a regular toothbrush and toothpaste, a waterflosser, and rinsing with Scope or Listerine. And just like your regular teeth, if you neglect your new teeth, they can cause you lots of problems later on.
2. How much stress you place on your new teeth: Most people think that teeth break when you eat food or bite something really hard. But in reality, it’s actually very rare that someone bites hard into a cherry pit or chicken bone and breaks a tooth. Almost always, what happens is that a tiny crack develops in a tooth, and that crack gets a little deeper and a little deeper over many years and thousands of chews, and then finally you bite down into a soft piece of bread and it breaks. So it wasn’t the piece of bread that broke the tooth, it was the thousand chews you had before the bread, and then the soft bread is what pushed it over the edge.
With your new All-On-4 teeth, you can eat virtually anything you want. Of course, you want to avoid “dangerous” foods like chewing ice cubes or cracking crab legs with your teeth. But your new teeth are designed for chewing and are built to last, so go enjoy your food!
Instead, what you should be worried about is grinding your new All-On-4 teeth against your other natural teeth. This is how small cracks start, and those small cracks can turn into big cracks later on.
The best way to prevent this and to reduce the risk of cracks starting or growing is to wear a custom made nightguard. This is a small piece of plastic that goes over top of your All-On-4 teeth while you sleep, so that when you squeeze and grind your teeth at night (and virtually everyone does, at least to some extent), you have a protective layer over top of your teeth.
3. Completing an All-On-4 treatment takes a certain amount of skill from your dentist. But it takes even more experience and wisdom to give you an All-On-4 result that is built to last for the long run. There are dozens of small factors during your pre-planning, surgery, and maintenance that can all add up to making a big difference in how long your new teeth last. So when choosing your All-On-4 dentist, make sure you choose one who is experienced, and who you feel confident has your long term best interests in mind, and who will actually still be around for you down the road if you have problems.
Dentists rarely offer a warranty for their work, including All-On-4. This is because most dentists haven’t done enough cases to know what problems they will see down the road, so they don’t feel comfortable offering a warranty that they’re not sure they will be able to cover later on.
What we can tell you is that at our All-On-4 and Dental Implant Centre in Hamilton, we give all of our dental implant patients a written 7 year warranty, so you can feel confident that you are in good hands for the long run, and that your new teeth are built to last.
The best way to keep your All-On-4 dental implants clean at home is to develop a routine. Most people perform daily activities like showering, brushing their teeth, and doing their hair/makeup on autopilot, because they’ve established a routine. The same principle applies to cleaning your All-On-4 dental implants.
We recommend a 2-minute, 3-step routine first thing in the morning and again just before bed:
Step 1: Brush your teeth and gums with an ultra-soft toothbrush and regular toothpaste, using very light pressure for about 1 minute.
Step 2: Use a water flosser underneath your artificial teeth and around your implants and gums for about 30 seconds.
Step 3: Rinse and swish with regular Listerine or Scope for about 30 seconds.
Yes, it’s a good idea to see your dentist once a year for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can often spot problems with your All-On-4 implants or teeth while they are small and easy to fix. Additionally, your dentist can see and clean the hard-to-reach areas of your teeth and implants that you can’t clean at home, no matter how many times you brush, floss, and rinse.
All-On-4 is a significant investment in your health and self-confidence. If you’re going to do it, do it right the first time. This is not the type of dental work that you want to redo a few years down the road. Here are four tips to keep your All-On-4 implants looking and feeling strong:
1. Clean your dental implants and teeth twice a day, using the simple 2-minute, 3-step routine mentioned above (brush for 1 minute, waterflosser for 30 seconds, and rinse for 30 seconds).
2. Be mindful of what you eat. Find the balance between enjoying the foods you love without worrying about your teeth while also using common sense and avoiding high-risk, dangerous foods like ice cubes, bones, and shells.
3. Wear your nightguard to sleep every night to prevent micro fractures from starting or growing.
4. Most importantly, before you start, make sure you have full faith in your dentist. You need to work with someone you trust has your back all the way through the entire All-On-4 process, from choosing the type of All-On-4 that’s right for you, pre-planning your case, simple surgery, design of your final teeth, and all the way through to your long-term All-On-4 maintenance. This is not the time to cut corners or take shortcuts!
All-On-4 full mouth dental implants offer a life-changing solution for people who have suffered for decades with an embarrassing and uncomfortable smile. But it’s not as simple as finding the cheapest All-On-4 dentist you can find and ending up with a perfect smile!
There are some significant downsides and disadvantages of All-On-4, including surgical complications, healing, cost, and long term maintenance and repairs. An experienced All-On-4 dentist will help guide you towards the right solution for you, whether it’s some type of All-On-4, or whether there is another solution that will make you even happier!
No matter which solution you choose, be sure to go into it with your eyes fully open about the disadvantages and pros and cons, so you can make the best decision for yourself.
And be sure to work with a dentist that makes you feel good about your decision, no matter what you choose, and is someone you trust will have your back for the long run.
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