Replacing Missing Teeth With All-on-4®
All-on-4® dental implants can do more than just improve the uniformity of a smile. The absence of multiple teeth can make speaking and chewing more difficult, and replacing unhealthy or lost teeth can improve an individual’s overall health. There are several things a dentist considers before recommending implant bridges as a treatment for missing teeth.
Teeth replacement options
Past childhood and adolescence, the body is not able to grow back teeth that are lost, whether through trauma or tooth decay resulting from poor hygiene practices. Though there is no way to naturally regrow teeth, fixed implants like All-on-4® can provide patients with the feel and look of natural teeth. Removable dentures offer a similar look but require more maintenance and offer less stability. Those who are worried about the upkeep required for teeth that look healthy have fewer concerns when relying on a fixed bridge implant.
Implants often last several years before needing to be replaced or repaired. Removable dentures offer the least durable of replacement options and can get uncomfortable when they are not worn 24 hours a day. All-on-4® fixed bridge implants are customized to the patient’s mouth, reducing long-term discomfort.
There is the adjustment period once the implants are set, but patients typically move past this period quickly. Patients visit the dentists several times to ensure the form and fit are uniform, so the initial bridge process can be more time-consuming than traditional implants or dentures. However, the quality of adhesives and materials used in fixed implants creates greater reliability and durability.
Dentists and patients should consider the impact an All-on-4® treatment may have on speech issues. For patients who are missing more than four or five teeth and have substantial gaps between teeth, the replacement bridge may be thicker than the rest of the natural gum line. Patients may experience some challenges with a lisp or slurring as the teeth and tongue interact. Practice can retrain the tongue to adapt to the new positioning of teeth.
It may also take the individual some time to adjust to the different feelings between the natural soft tissue of their mouth and the constructed, fake tissue. Chewing might also seem foreign at first, as patients relearn to maneuver food around the mouth without the gaps or force that had previously existed.
For aesthetic purposes, All-on-4® provides the most natural tooth replacement option. For those who deal with embarrassment over their appearance, this option can help raise self-confidence and self-esteem. There are the added benefits of having teeth that do not need to be removed for cleaning and that do not shift or pull loose when eating certain foods.
Tooth decay and loss can leave gaps in between the teeth that alter a person's appearance and impact activities like eating and speaking. Consulting a dentist can give more insight into using All-on-4® as a replacement option for missing teeth.
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