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All-on-4® Dental Implants

All-on-4® Dental Implants

The American Academy of Prosthodontists estimates that about 40 million Americans have lost all their teeth. That’s about 30% of adults between 65-74 years old, making tooth loss a major health problem, especially in older populations.

It used to be that the only restoration option was a full set of dentures, artificial teeth attached to an acrylic base that could be easily removed for cleaning. But dentures have their own problems. They tend to slip and clack when you try to eat or talk, and they can fall out of your mouth, even if you’ve used a lot of adhesive to attach them to your gums. The embarrassment factor is very real.

At Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi in Flowood, oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Michael Nichols and our staff understand that missing all your upper and/or lower teeth can seriously impact your oral health, to say nothing of your self-esteem, which is why we offer a wide range of tooth replacement options, including the new gold standard — All-on-4® dental implants.

The problems of missing teeth

Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic nuisance. A gap in your smile can also affect your bite, speech, and ability to eat certain foods. And as you depend more on your remaining teeth to get the job done, you increase the probability they’ll wear out prematurely, become damaged or lost, and cause headaches and/or jaw pain.

And there’s another problem. When the tooth root, which is normally anchored in the jawbone, is no longer there, the jaw literally withers away from lack of bite stimulation. People lose about 25% of their jawbone structure under the gap within the first year after tooth loss. Nothing about this is healthy or good.

The dental implant solution

It’s true that conventional dentures, either a partial set (if you’re missing just a few teeth) or a full arch, are both an easy and relatively inexpensive way to replace missing teeth. But in addition to their tendency to slip and clack, their biggest flaw is they replace only the crowns of your teeth, not the roots. Since the roots are what hold the teeth steady, that makes dentures prone to slippage. And since the jawbone doesn’t get stimulation, you’ll lose bone mass, changing the shape of your jaw and gums.

Dental implants, on the other hand, function like a whole tooth, root and all. Dr. Nichols places a biocompatible titanium or zirconium post into the jawbone. Over the next several months, the bone tissue grows around the post, fusing with it and anchoring it firmly.

Once the post is fully incorporated, Dr. Nichols places an abutment (connector) on top of the post, and this abutment is what connects the implant to the restoration option, whether that’s a bridge, crown, or denture. Once complete, no one will know you’ve had work done.

And the long-term health of implants is amazing. For patients missing all their teeth, studies that have looked at more than 30 years of data show an 80-90% success rate.

The All-on-4 implant concept

As we’ve mentioned, the first stage of dental implants is the placement of a biocompatible post into the jawbone, which then takes several months to heal before the abutment and crown can be placed. If you’re replacing a full arch of teeth, this can be both time-consuming and expensive.

All-on-4 implants provide a unique solution to the problem, using only four strategically placed implants to support a full-arch restoration. When the implants are healed and the abutments attached, the All-on-4 system permits positive snap locking between the denture plate and the implants. The result is complete stability — no clicking or slipping that can compromise speech and chewing.

Advantages of the All-on-4 system

In addition to stability and bite stimulation of the jawbone, the All-on-4 system offers several advantages over regular dental implants:

And as long as you practice good oral hygiene, you shouldn’t ever have to replace the implants.

If you’re missing teeth and are looking for the best restoration option, dental implants — and the All-on-4 system — may be just the thing to improve your smile and your oral health. Give Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi a call at 601-282-9290 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nichols.

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