All-on-4 Frequently Asked Questions

All-on-4 Frequently Asked Questions

If you have several missing teeth and you’re looking for the strongest, most durable, and most-natural looking solution to restoring your full smile, All-on-4 dental implants might be right for you. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the procedure:


What are All-on-4 dental implants?

All-on-4 implants are a permanent set of prosthetic teeth that are anchored to four dental implants surgically placed into your jaw. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth, with no need for specialized adhesives or cleaning procedures. All-on-4 dental implants allow you to bite with increased force so you can eat all of your favorite foods. And the titanium implants fuse to your jawbone, keeping it strong and healthy, and preventing bone deterioration. 


What is the difference between All-on-4 Dental Implants and dentures?

All-on-4 dental implants are a permanent solution for missing or severely damaged teeth. The implants are secured directly into the jawbone, unlike dentures which require specialized adhesives and become ill-fitting over time. Dentures tend to shift and slip while eating and speaking, and the plate that covers the roof of your mouth can affect your ability to taste food properly. All-on-4 dental implants function just like natural teeth. Also, without natural tooth roots or implant screws in place, the jawbone begins to deteriorate, eventually altering the structure of your face. Implants prevent this. 


What is the difference between All-on-4 dental implants and traditional implants?

Traditional dental implants are typically used to replace a single tooth or a couple of teeth at once, but it would be prohibitively expensive for most people to replace an entire arch of missing teeth with individual implants. All-on-4 implants can replace a full arch of teeth with just four implants. Also, many people do not have the bone density required for several implants, but can manage just four per arch without the need for bone grafting surgery. Another main difference between All-on-4 implants and traditional implants is the angle of insertion. Traditional implants are inserted vertically into the gums to mimic a natural tooth root, but All-on-4 implants are inserted at an angle, which increases the amount of jawbone in contact with the implant, creating a wide, stable foundation for the prosthetic teeth.


What is the All-on-4 dental implant procedure like?

While each patient is different and might require supplemental procedures, such as extractions, before the All-on-4 procedure can take place, for most patients the entire process takes just a few appointments. The initial consultation includes X-rays and impressions, and the creation of a treatment plan. The implants are surgically inserted at the second appointment. In this process, the dentist makes an incision into the gumline and inserts the titanium screws and abutments that connect to the prosthesis. The surgery takes about two and a half hours per arch. While the implants heal, patients wear a temporary prosthesis, returning for the permanent set of teeth approximately four to six months later.


Does the All-on-4 surgery hurt?

The All-on-4 surgery is virtually painless thanks to the use of local anesthesia. After the numbness wears off,  some swelling and soreness is common, but most patients return to their normal routine a day or two after the surgery. Also, it may take a couple of days to adjust to eating and speaking with the temporary prosthesis, although patients who previously wore dentures tend to adapt more quickly.


What is the success rate for All-on-4 Dental Implants?

Published studies show a 98% success rate for All-on-4 implants on the lower jaw, and similar success for the upper jaw. On rare occasions, an implant must be re-inserted due to a variety of factors including failure to fuse, poor bone quality and density, or post-surgery infection.


Who is the ideal candidate for All-on-4 Dental Implants?

The ideal candidate for All-on-4 dental implants is someone who is already missing the majority of their teeth, especially patients already using dentures. Age is not a limiting factor, but patients must be in good general health and non-smokers to increase the chances of success.


Do All-on-4 dental implants look natural?

Using the highest-quality materials for the prosthetic teeth and gums, All-on-4 dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. Dental fabrication specialists can even capture the slight translucence of natural teeth. When designing the prosthesis, age, facial features, and skin tone are all taken into consideration to ensure the prosthesis is congruent with your features. In fact, most patients report that no one can tell they have implants.



How do I clean All-on-4 dental implants?

Dental implants look, feel and function like natural teeth, and they require the same oral health routine to keep them clean. This includes daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental checkups.  Some All-on-4 patients use water flossers to help remove food particles that get stuck beneath the prosthesis. 


Will I need bone grafting surgery?

One of the many advantages of All-on-4 dental implants is that patients with insufficient bone density can usually have the procedure done without bone grafting surgery.  Bone grafting involves taking bone material from another area of the jaw (or donor material) and placing it where it’s needed. Part of the consultation process is planning the exact placement of each implant, and X-rays can guide the dentist to areas where bone density is sufficient. In some  cases, such as patients who have had missing teeth for a long time and have suffered bone deterioration as a result, bone grafting is necessary before the implant procedure can be performed.


What is the cost of All-on-4 dental implants?

While every dentist is different, the cost for All-on-4 dental implants typically ranges from $18,000 and $24,000 per arch. However, All-on-4 dental implants are much more cost-effective than traditional implants. And while it may not be immediately obvious, All-on-4 implants are also less expensive over time compared to dentures, which must be replaced often as the jawbone continues to deteriorate and affect the fit of the dentures.