Countless Americans suffer from tooth loss. And while modern-day dentures are generally better-fitting and more comfortable than dentures from years ago, they still have their limitations. Even the best-fitting dentures can slip, making it difficult to chew certain foods, and leaving the wearer feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable. Fortunately, modern dental technology provides patients another option for replacing their missing teeth: All-on-four dentures.
The difference between these dentures and the traditional type is dental implants. An implant consists of a tiny titanium screw that is inserted inside the jawbone of the patient. After a certain period of time, the titanium fuses to the bone, creating an artificial tooth root. A crown is then attached to the implant. The first step in getting All-on-four dentures is to have as few as four dental implants inserted on the top and bottom of your mouth. These implants require minor surgery, but the outcome is well worth it because these implants not only leave the patient with four realistic-looking, permanent prosthetic teeth, they also serve as the anchors for the patient’s new set of dentures.
And patients are usually fitted with those new dentures within 24 hours of the implant surgery! Although they’re referred to as “dentures,” a better description is a fixed prosthesis. You may be familiar with the term “prosthesis” as it applies to people who receive artificial replacements for missing limbs. But there are dental prostheses that perform the exact same function – replacing missing teeth. The prosthesis involved with All-on-four dentures is fixed, meaning it is not removable by the patient. So, in virtually every way imaginable, All-on-four dentures are like getting a brand new set of natural teeth.
Fixed dentures offer many advantages over the traditional removable type. All-on-four dentures don’t slip the way removable dentures do. This means that there are no eating restrictions, and wearers can feel completely comfortable when speaking and in social situations, knowing that their dentures won’t slip. Another benefit is that the wearer’s oral hygiene routine doesn’t need to change – you simply treat All-on-four dentures as you would your natural teeth. And research has shown than this technique helps to reduce bone loss as well.
While there are obvious benefits to All-on-four dentures, they may not be the best choice for every patient. If you suffer from tooth loss and are wondering what solution is right for you, talk to your dentist. He or she can review your medical and dental history, assess your current oral health, and make recommendations about whether or not you are a good candidate for All-on-four dentures.
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