Not for Partial Tooth Loss, but…
The All-on-4 technique is especially suitable for patients wishing to replace all their natural teeth in an upper or lower jaw. It is also good for patients who have a few remaining natural teeth which need to be removed, but it’s not particularly suitable for people who have remaining teeth that are in good condition and which do not need to be removed. People who have experienced partial tooth loss but whose remaining teeth are viable would find normal implant techniques a much better means of tooth replacement, even though conventional dental implants take longer to place and have to be left for longer so that they can integrate with the bone.
The All-on-4 technique is an excellent solution for patients who need to wear full dentures, as it gives the stability of an implant-supported bridge using just four strategically placed implants. In some cases it may be necessary
to use six implants in the upper jaw to ensure complete stability. This technique minimizes the need for bone grafting, and in the vast majority of cases a same day bridge can be made for fitting immediately after the implant placement procedure, which is why it is often referred to as the permanent teeth-in-a-day procedure.
One of the reasons why it is unsuitable for patients who have only partial tooth loss is that four dental implants need to be placed at specific angles in a particular location at the front of the mouth. This is to ensure that the best use is made of the available bone as it often has a higher density in this region. This procedure is beneficial for patients who do not have good bone density, and who would have difficulty having conventional implants without extensive bone grafting procedures. Patients who have lost all their teeth often suffer from considerable bone resorption, especially if the teeth have been missing for quite some time. Wearing dentures accelerates bone loss over the years as the dentures place pressure on the bone.
Patients who have suffered partial tooth loss can potentially have less extensive bone resorption as the tooth loss is more likely to be recent, and could more easily have conventional implants without the need for bone grafts. While the all-on-four technique is excellent for patients needing to replace all their natural teeth, and is an extremely quick procedure, there is some concern that unless an experienced surgeon is chosen for the procedure there could be a higher risk of implant failure. As with all dental procedures the need to choose a highly experienced surgeon cannot be stressed enough.
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