What are all-on-four teeth?
All-on-four teeth is a set of dental implant supported permanent teeth which replaces every single tooth in each arch (upper or lower jaw). They are fixed, permanent teeth which are made from porcelain or zirconia. The entire set of teeth is supported by just four dental implants. However, all-on-four teeth offers you the support and chewing efficiency of having a full set of teeth. Plus, they aren’t as expensive and complicated as doing a mouth full of dental implants. As a result, all-on-4 teeth offers patients a relatively affordable way to replace every single tooth with a fixed prosthesis.
All-on-4 teeth versus dentures and full mouth dental implants
All-on-four teeth is priced in between dentures and full mouth dental implants. However, for those who can afford them, all-on-four teeth is typically the ideal compromise. The table below shows why most patients choose all-on-4 teeth when they can afford them and how it compares favorably to both dentures and full mouth dental implants:
|All-on-4 Teeth||Dentures||Full Mouth Dental Implants|
|Material||Pink & White Porcelain/ Zirconia||Pink & White Acrylic||Porcelain/ Zirconia|
|Treatment Times||1 to 6 months||1 to 2 months||6 to 18 months|
|Jaw Bone Preservation||Yes||No||Yes|
When is all-on-four a good option for me?
As you’d imagine, no one just wakes up one day and decides to spend tens-of-thousands on all-on-four teeth. People who end up choosing all-on-four teeth have typically had dental problems their entire life. Some have already lost all of their teeth and are now suffering from wearing dentures. Others have spent thousands of dollars over the years to replace their teeth only to have them break and fail year after year. This usually happens if you have very weak, fragile teeth or advanced gum disease. For this latter group, getting their actual teeth removed and replacing them with all-on-four teeth is a blessing. With all-on-4 teeth you no longer have to worry about cavities, deep cleanings or root canals! To further determine if you are a good candidate for all-on-four teeth, you must meet the following criteria:
(1) You want a fixed option to replace all of your missing teeth
If you’re not happy with having removable dentures, then all-on-4 teeth is a good option for you. Since all-on-four teeth are fixed in your mouth, you can’t take them in and out. Effectively, this makes them similar to having your own natural teeth back. Plus, with all-on-four teeth, you can eat, chew and function as if you had your original teeth back.
(2) Your jaw bone is weak
Luckily, the majority of people with weak jaw bone are a good candidate for all-on-four teeth. On one hand, having weak jaw bones makes it much more difficult to wear your dentures comfortably. On the other hand, receiving full mouth dental implants is very challenging if you have weak jaw bone. You will most likely require extensive workup surgery, including multiple bone grafts and other surgeries. With all-on-four teeth, you will receive a set of stable, permanent teeth without the need to undergo multiple surgical procedures.
(3) You’re looking for the best bang for your buck
At $15,000 to $30,000 per arch, all-on-four teeth are not cheap by any means. However, they are also far less expensive than full mouth dental implants, which is typically twice as costly. When compared to dentures, all-on-4 teeth offers you far superior chewing capability, aesthetics and overall confidence. Plus, all-on-four teeth lasts you a lifetime whereas denture wear out and require frequent replacement. When you consider the lifetime expenditure on dentures, it makes all-on-4 teeth price seem much more reasonable. And the younger you are, the more it makes sense to invest in all-on-4 teeth.
(4) You still have all of your teeth in one arch
Occasionally, a patient will lose all of their upper teeth but have most or all of their lower teeth intact. Or vice versa, they lose all of their lower teeth while still maintaining most or all of their upper teeth. If either one of these applies to you, then wearing dentures is going to be very challenging. Bite pressure from natural teeth will destroy your denture. Plus, you’re going to be very uncomfortable with dentures hitting against natural teeth. These cases are ideal for all-on-four teeth. with all-on-four teeth, you can eat, chew and function comfortably.
(5) You have managed to find a qualified dentist
Keep in mind, only a small percentage of dentists offer all-on-four treatment. Only very experienced general dentists and dental specialists like periodontists and prosthodontists are qualified to perform all-on-four treatment. So before committing to all-on-four teeth, be sure that you have found a reliable, experienced dentist who can perform your treatment.
When is all-on-four teeth NOT a good option for me?
All-on-four teeth is not always your best solution to fixing your teeth. Sometimes its better to save your own teeth or go for dentures or full mouth dental implants. This all depends on many different factors. Here are some cases where going for all-on-4 teeth may not be your best solution:
(1) You still have plenty of healthy teeth left
Generally, if you have 6 or more healthy teeth in one arch, then all-on-four teeth is not advisable. Now by saying “healthy teeth” we mean that your remaining teeth don’t suffer from advanced gum disease or extensive tooth decay. Of course, if these teeth are loose or severely decayed, then all-on-4 is the best way to go. Similarly, if you only have 1 or 2 healthy teeth left within each arch, then you have to sacrifice these teeth to receive all-on-four teeth. However, if you have 6 or more healthy teeth within an arch, you should consider adding individual dental implants instead of going for all-on-4 teeth. Not only will this cost less, but it is easier and gives you better taste, function and proprioception.
(2) You want you’re teeth exactly as they were before you lost them
There’s no question that all-on-four teeth are beautiful, natural-looking teeth. However, the all-on-4 teeth are connected to one another as one piece. Plus, the teeth contain pink gum tissue which shows when your lips are retracted. If you want your dental implants to look identical to your actual teeth, then you have to go for full mouth implants instead.
(3) You’re happy with dentures
Believe it or not, not every denture wearer dislikes their dentures. In fact, some denture wearers do very well with their dentures and don’t mind wearing them. They talk, eat and function as if they had all of their own teeth and you wouldn’t know unless you asked them. For these individuals, investing in all-on-four teeth is not necessary.
(4) You can’t afford all-on-4 teeth
At $15,000 to $25,000+ per arch, all-on-four teeth are not inexpensive. If you can’t afford permanent teeth, consider implant-denture hybrid options instead. By placing just a few dental implants, you can stabilize your dentures without having to spend a fortune.
(5) You don’t choose the right dentist
If you’re in the market for all-on-four teeth, chances are you need to look for a new dentist. Only a small percentage of dentists offer all-on-four teeth so you may have to look for a new dentist. Don’t feel bad about this, your oral health is more important than your commitment to your family dentist.
If you’d like to learn more about all-on-four teeth in San Clemente, give us a call today. Book your complimentary all-on-4 consultation with us today by calling (949)481-2540 or booking online. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will access your CT scans to see if you’re a good candidate for all-on-4 teeth. We will review your treatment and discuss different payment options with you. So if you’re ready to get started, give us a call to see how we can help you with all-on-4 teeth in our San Clemente office.