By Dr. Fadi Swaida
Having a beautiful smile can make a big difference when it comes to feeling confident in the way you look. Unfortunately, as we get older, we tend to lose the very thing that makes our smile beautiful – our teeth. This is an exceedingly common problem across the world. Indeed, according to the National Insitute of Health, 3.75% of adults (ages 20 to 64) have no remaining teeth.
Thankfully, dental science has progressed enough to come with a solution to this problem. Nowadays, anyone – no matter how old – can have a beautiful smile. One of the more common ways through which dentists are also to return your smile is through the use of dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
An implant refers to a small metal screw that fits within your jawbone and replaces the root portion of a missing tooth. Then, an artificial tooth is placed on the screw to replace the missing tooth. The screw is generally made of titanium, as it can fuse with living bone and function as part of it.
Unfortunately, inserting a dental implant does require the patient to undergo minor surgery. However, once it has been placed, it gives you a much more realistic looking and functional tooth. For people that lose the majority or all of their teeth, this process would require each of their teeth to be painstakingly replaced. As that would be tedious and expensive, dentists have come up with the all-on-4 implants.
What is the all-on-4 treatment for dental implants?
For people that need all of their teeth replaced, the best option would be to undergo the all-on-4 treatment. Why is that? Because you don’t actually need to undergo implantation for every single tooth that you have lost. In fact, research has shown that four precisely located implants (two on the top and two on the bottom) can allow dentists to replace all your missing teeth, and fully restore your smile. Similar to other implants, the all-on-4 implants are also made of titanium. Therefore, the implants will eventually become a part of your jawbone and create a strong foundation for the teeth that make your new and improved smile.
What are the benefits of this treatment?
The all-on-4 treatment comes with many perks, including:
· It is cost-efficient, as opposed to getting individual implants for each of your teeth.
· It allows the patient to achieve a fixed full-arch prosthesis on the day of surgery.
· As the titanium screw becomes fused to the bone, it helps prevent future bone loss of the jaw.
· It provides immediate functionality, and in many cases, has less downtime compared to getting a full set of dental implants.
How do you take care of your new all-on-4 implants?
Once you have gone through the process of getting your new all-on-4 implants, it is time to properly take care of them. These are some tips you should follow:
· If you find yourself bleeding immediately after you get the implants, bite on gauze to help control it. If the bleeding continues for more than 24 hours, then do a saltwater rinse.
· Try to brush your teeth gently, but still be thorough.
· Try to rest as much as possible for 3-4 days.
· Abstain from smoking.
· Try to be on a strictly soft-food diet for a minimum of 3 months.
What are some common problems that are encountered by patients that get the all-on-4 implant?
Similar to any other surgeries, all-on-4 surgery can lead to some complications. These are the most common problems encountered by patients that undergo this procedure:
· Inability to determine the strength of your bite. You might be surprised by how strong your bite is because there is a prosthesis over your gums. This can cause problems with chewing and can even – under some circumstances – cause implants to break.
· You might have difficulty speaking, as you are not yet used to having a prosthesis in your mouth. You will usually adapt to it in a few weeks.
· If the prosthesis is not inserted properly, that can cause bacteria and food debris to not be adequately removed. This can lead to infection.
· In very rare circumstances (only approximately 5% of cases), some patients may experience implant failure. Thankfully, you can avoid this by practicing good oral hygiene.
· Some people might experience excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching, but not be aware of it.
How do you clean all-on-4 implants?
Because the implants are fixed, you will not be able to take them off and clean them. However, the implants are designed in a way that you can still care for them, just like you would your normal teeth. These are some tips to help clean your implants:
· Brush normally, at least two times a day or after every meal.
· Use of a soft-bristled toothbrush that can be either manual or electric. If you don’t have the dexterity to thoroughly brush your teeth, then you should buy an electric toothbrush.
· Use circular movement when you are brushing your teeth and around your prosthesis.
· Try to floss and use water picks.
· Finish off your oral care routine by using a non-alcoholic mouth wash.
If you are starting to find that you are losing your youthful smile, there is nothing to worry about! Dental science has improved to a point where you can fully capture your old smile again using the all-on-4 prosthesis. Go to your dentist to learn more about it or find out if you are eligible.
Dr. Fadi Swaida first graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honors BSc in Biology before graduating from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Dentistry. He is an active member of his church and enjoys football and being by the water! His outgoing personality and fun-loving character will ensure you always feel welcome at Bond St Dental Implants Toronto.