Loose, decayed and missing teeth and ill-fitting plates and dentures are a source of significant discomfort and often progress to severe pain; even worse, if they are left untreated they can develop into more health issues like dental abscesses and blood poisoning or sepsis. That’s why it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible.
Dental implants provide a reliable, minimally invasive and long-lasting solution that can be suitable for patients who have bone deterioration and advanced gum or periodontal disease. The ‘All on 4’ and ‘All on 6’ treatments can replace all your broken teeth and loose dentures with comfortable implant retained teeth that look great, are stable and enable you to eat most of the foods you love. However many of our patients aren’t sure whether this treatment is suitable for them, or what’s involved and what the long-term benefits are. Here is an expert guide.
What Is The All-On-4 / All-On-6 Process?
Dental implant procedures involve inserting small titanium fixtures (implants) into the jawbones (upper and lower). These implants can support either single teeth (implant crowns) or multiple teeth (implant bridges). The implants become the new foundation (root replacements) for replacement teeth (crowns; over-dentures; hybrid bridges). The All on 4 and All on 6 treatments allow a full set of teeth (8-12 teeth) to be replaced without the need for an implant under every tooth. In this process, four to six dental implants are used to support a full arch (8-12 teeth) of teeth. The implants are basically arranged with two fixtures to support the front and two fixtures to support the back of the appliance; when extra teeth are needed or desired, another two fixtures are placed to support further teeth at the back of the mouth; together these 4 or 6 implants form the required foundation to support the prosthesis.
With modern technology (CT scan based 3-D implant planning software) computer-based virtual surgery is able to undertake at the diagnosis stage, prior to the patient undergoing any procedure or surgery. This type of planning identifies potential problems with the jawbone structure; confirms the site, size and angulation needed for each implant; confirms the location of important structures like nerves, vessels, sinuses (air spaces) and other tooth roots; ensures the final implant bridge is properly supported and accorded enough space to create the best possible design for strength and function (prosthetically driven treatment); allows for minimally invasive surgery with reduced complication rates and quicker recovery times; helps reduce the need for bone grafting procedures by identifying and avoiding jawbone deficiencies; enables the creation of an immediate prosthesis (implant bridge inserted on the same day as implant surgery) to be reliably constructed.
Prosthetically driven treatment also results in an implant bridge design that reduces the need for complicating cleaning (oral hygiene and implant maintenance), which extends the life of both the implants and the implant bridge.
What Is The History of the All On 4 Process?
Modern implant treatment arose from an astute observation by a Swedish physician, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, in the 1950’s. He was studying bone biology and noticed what appeared to be bone sticking (now known as osseointegration) to a titanium plate. In simple terms, osseointegration refers to the process of bone cells growing directly onto titanium metal (commercially pure titanium). The extension and development of this observation have resulted in numerous treatment options not only for restoration of teeth but also attachment of artificial limbs (arms/legs) and facial prosthetics (noses/eyes/ears), where these appendages have been lost or damaged.
Initially, implant treatments took place over a longer period of time (often 6-12 months). With further knowledge and experience, the completion time for treatment has reduced. Immediate loading of implants (same day teeth; teeth in an hour; temporary implant crowns and bridges) has meant that a patient having teeth replaced with implants doesn’t have any time without teeth during treatment; this has resulted in both greater acceptance and increased interest in implant treatments generally.
What’s Involved In The All On 4 Process?
In the past, implant procedures were undertaken in two distinct stages – fixtures were placed in the jaw bone, allowed to heal for four to six months and then a prosthesis was made which would eventually attach to those fixtures. During the implant healing period (time needed to attain osseointegration) the patient was provided with an interim prosthesis or ‘denture’; sometimes, however, the denture would interfere with implants and contribute to their failure.
Today, the All On 4 / All On 6 processes involves attaching the teeth directly to the dental implants within days of their placement; bite force is shared evenly across all the implants (cross-arch stabilisation) rather than being randomly applied to individual implants underneath a loose denture. Post-operative comfort is also much improved as the soft tissues of the mouth are not bruised or compressed by contact with the underside of the denture.
What Are The Benefits Of The All On 4 Process?
The All On 4 / All On 6 implant techniques have revolutionised the delivery of dental implant treatments and offers a viable alternative with distinct benefits for patients, over and above the standard process. The procedure also has a range of benefits compared to traditional implant surgery, including:
- Fewer implants required
- Minimal or No bone grafting
- Shortened treatment period
- Reduced recovery times
- More comfortable post-operative recovery
- Reduced need for extensive maintenance visits
- Optimal aesthetics and smile improvement
- More affordable than traditional methods
- Better fit and comfort – right from the first stage
- No time without teeth – Immediate teeth!
Who Can Perform The All On 4 / All on 6 Treatments?
It sounds relatively simple, but the All On 4 / All on 6 processes are actually advanced, highly technical surgical procedures that must be comprehensively detailed from well prior to any consideration of undergoing surgery. Your interests are best served by seeking the knowledge and experience of a highly trained professional in the field of dental implant surgery.
The decision to proceed with dental implant treatment is not something to take lightly; most General Dentists don’t have enough exposure to implant treatment through University and a weekend course here or there won’t provide sufficient experience to allow for planning and implementing a successful treatment plan. Cross-disciplinary skills and knowledge (ability to recognise key facial aesthetics; understanding of all contemporary implant options; experience with and availability of state of the art equipment) in this specialised area are also crucial.
Here at the Dental Implant & Specialist Centre, our Specialist Surgeons have vast experience through placement of many thousands of implants as well as performing innumerable adjunctive implant procedures during many additional years of rigorous training as part of Specialization in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Our Specialist team routinely assists patients with a range of needs from single tooth replacement to ‘teeth in a day’ procedures, to full mouth rehabilitation with All On 4 or All On 6 implant treatment. We provide a complete service with a focus on affordable treatment provided by experts. Our aim is to provide a customised solution for each patient focused on restoring aesthetics and function, in short… to help you smile again!
Like more information about the All On 4 process? Contact the Specialists at the Dental Implant & Specialist Centre today on (07) 5503 1744.