A dental implant is an option that can be used to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone. The bone grows around it, forming a tight connection which slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist works to attach a replacement tooth onto the top of the titanium shaft. Dental implants are a permanent solution that do not place stress on surrounding teeth for support, the way that a bridge does. In the event that the replacement tooth wears out, another can simply be placed on the shaft.
Dental implants can also be used as support anchors for an "implant bridge". An implant bridge is an alternative to partial dentures, and it has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period for the patient after the bridge is placed on the titanium shaft(s). Second, it slows the bone loss that accompanies missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. Fourth, and best of all, they don't have to be taken out like dentures.
All-on-Four, sometimes referred to as All-on-4, is a technique for total rehabilitation of the edentulous. This surgical and prosthetic medical procedure was developed, institutionalized and systematically analyzed in the 1990s through studies funded by Nobel Biocare in collaboration with a Portuguese dentist Paulo Maló. It consists of the rehabilitation of the edentulous maxilla and mandible with fixed prosthesis by placing four implants in the anterior maxilla, where bone density is higher, allowing the highest success rate. The procedure is best for patients with significant tooth loss or decay and for people whose bone loss in the jaw area prevents them from getting dental implants.
This All-on-Four solution is a procedure that, as the name implies, only requires four dental implants per jaw to support a fully customized set of replacement teeth. All-on-Four is attractive to patients wanting to get rid of their dentures, and to people with failing teeth in need of a full upper and/or lower restoration. The All-on-4 Procedure provides patients with new teeth that are firmly fixed in place, and look and function as close to natural teeth as possible.
Unlike dentures which are removable, All-on-4 provides the patient with a set of teeth that are connected to the implants, and are solidly fixed in place (what we call an implant-supported fixed bridge). They may only be removed by the dentist, are bushed and cleaned like normal teeth (though flossing is different), and are the closest thing possible to natural teeth in terms of look, feel and function.
The All-on-4 bridge also allows the patient to bite with much more force than dentures, since the stresses are transferred directly to the bone rather than to gum tissue as with dentures. This means that patients can eat almost any of their favorite foods without worrying about their teeth.
The All-on-four treatment concept offers clinicians and their patients various clear benefits: