Why should I get a dental implant instead of a bridge or partial denture?
Dental implants offer a structurally complete tooth replacement that includes a root-like structure. That replacement root stabilizes the jaw, and it makes the prosthetic tooth more functional than a bridge or a denture. Furthermore, dental implants require no support from surrounding teeth, unlike a partial or bridge.
How much discomfort will I experience during the implant placement procedure? What should I expect as I recover from the surgery?
Most patients experience minimal discomfort when their dental implants are placed. The patient receives a local anesthetic during the surgery, and most choose to add some form of sedation as well. Recovery will involve few changes to your normal routine. You will want to switch to softer foods for a few days, and avoid any activities that could disrupt the healing process, like drinking from straws, smoking cigarettes and vigorous exercise.
How long will my dental implants last?
Dental implants can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
Can dental implants prevent further tooth loss?
Because they stabilize the jaw, prevent bone loss and have minimal impact on surrounding teeth, dental implants can reduce a patient’s risk for losing additional teeth.
Can a denture really be secured with just four implants?
Yes, four implants are used to secure the prosthetic arch, and it does remain remarkably stable.
I’ve worn dentures for years. Will I still be eligible for the All-on-4 procedure?
Yes. Bone loss occurs most quickly at the rear of the mouth, which means that patients tend to have more available bone toward the front of the jaw. This is where the implants are placed in All-on-4.
How long does the All-on-4 procedure take?
The dental implant placement for All-on-4 takes just a few hours, and it is completed in the oral surgeon’s office. Patients can be fitted with a prosthetic arch that day, allowing them to leave the office with a fully restored smile. After the implants have healed fully, the patient can return for a follow-up appointment to be fitted with a stronger, permanent appliance.
Will my new smile look natural?
Yes, the materials used in today’s prosthetic devices are quite lifelike in appearance. It can be difficult to discern a prosthetic from a biological tooth or teeth. Furthermore, because the appliance is anchored by the implants, it won’t slip out of place—a telltale sign that a patient is wearing a conventional denture.
Do I brush and floss implants like regular teeth?
You still need to brush your teeth as normal with toothpaste and a medium to soft toothbrush. Flossing will be different due to the fact that the teeth are all connected so there is no area in between the teeth to floss. You will need to use a floss threader and floss to get in between the junction of the prosthesis and the gums. At the post-operative appointments, this will be demonstrated and thoroughly discussed with the patient.
What kind of maintenance will my new teeth require?
Your local dentist and hygienist, who we recommend that you see every six months (as do patients with natural teeth), will be properly trained to remove and clean your new teeth to keep them polished and looking great.
Your oral hygiene routine should not be very different than for those with natural teeth, with one notable exception. Instead of flossing in between your teeth, we will teach you how to floss under the bridge and you will be provided with all the tools necessary to accomplish ideal dental care at home.
Are the implants easily fixable if damaged?
Remember, an implant is just the fixture that is placed into your bone. Over this foundation, we then build your tooth or teeth. The parts that go onto the implant are called abutments and screws. Your new teeth are attached to the abutments. Once an implant is healed (integrated to the bone), it should not fail or become damaged. The parts that fit onto the implant are specifically designed and machined to match perfectly over the fixture. Consequently, perfectly fitting parts will ensure a longer lasting result. However, if your implants fail, for any reason, these parts are easily interchangeable. In addition, since we work with the largest implant company in the world (Nobel Biocare), replacement parts are, and will continue to be, readily available.
In the very improbable event of an implant being damaged, it would probably have to be replaced.
How long has the All-on-4 Procedure been performed?
The concept began in the middle to late 1990’s as a way to more efficiently use implants in both jaws. It is an especially effective treatment in the upper jaw since a longer, stronger implant can be used in the back part of the jaw.
In the early 2000’s, implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare teamed up with noted European implant dentist, Paulo Malo, to use computer simulation, bio-mechanics, and clinical research in determining the optimal use of implants for restoring a full upper and lower arch of teeth. The objective was to use the fewest implants as possible, avoid bone grafting surgery, and provide high quality, restorative results in the shortest time possible.
The study resulted in the introduction of the All-on-4 Procedure, which uses four implants, with the posterior implants angulated to take maximum advantage of existing bone. Special implants were also developed that could support the immediate placement of the prosthesis (teeth) on the four implants with a success rate equal to or better than the traditional multi-stage treatment approach. The All-on-4 Procedure has now been proven to be an extremely successful technique to restore a full arch of teeth, using just four specially placed implants, all in one day.
Am I too old to have implants?
Our oldest patient to receive All-on-4 dental implants was 91 years old and did so without difficulty. He experienced very little pain after surgery and healed well. He enjoys being able to chew whatever foods he wants and doesn’t have to worry about taking dentures in and out or using denture adhesives.
How can a sinus lift, bone grafts, extractions, and prep for implants take one day when I was told it would take 2 1/2 years to complete that process?
When placing single implants, treatment can often require several steps over a lengthy period of time. These steps often consist of tooth extractions, bone and sinus grafting, then implant placement. Single implants have limited treatment options because of adjacent teeth, bone volume, and vital structures, thus, requiring the surgeon to alter the bone to accommodate the implants. If a patient has healthier teeth, the treatment options are actually fewer because of physical inference of the existing teeth. When bone grafting is required, the total implant treatment process does not usually take 2 1/2 years, however, it may take many months to complete.
If a patient is missing many teeth, the options are different. While many dentists use the same multi-stage, multi-step process on a full arch of teeth that they use on a single implant, we take a different approach.
During a procedure for a full arch of teeth, we remove the few remaining teeth in the jaw and, thus, remove most of the inference, which creates better treatment options. Using the All-on-4 protocol with special implant placement techniques, Dr. Krakora can avoid structures like sinuses and nerves by changing the positions and/or angulation of the implants. Since we avoid the sinuses, there is no need for bone grafting. With four implants placed in solid (not grafted) bone, we are able to support a full arch of replacement teeth, placed the same day as the implants, with very high success rates.