When you have several missing or decaying teeth, the problem goes beyond an impaired smile and limited confidence. Missing teeth can affect how you eat, how you speak, and your overall oral health. If you need a full arch or full mouth of teeth replaced due to a traumatic mouth injury or neglected decay, full-mouth dental implants are a great way to permanently restore your bright, beautiful smile.
There are several options out there to replace one or several teeth at a time, but dental implants are the strongest, most durable, and longest-lasting option available. Dental implants are designed to replace the full tooth—including the root—which also prevents your jawbone from deteriorating over time, an inevitable consequence of having no tooth root to keep it firm. Plus, dental implants look, function and feel just like natural teeth, and you’ll be able to eat, speak, and clean your new teeth with ease.
All-On-4 dental implants use just four titanium screws to support an entire arch of prosthetic teeth, which is made with natural-looking teeth and gums. The implants are placed with two near the front of the mouth—usually the lateral incisors, which are next to your front teeth—and two near the back, typically on the smaller molars. This ensures even distribution of the pressure and force from biting and chewing.
All-On-4 implants can be placed on the same day, but you will get a temporary set of prosthetic teeth to use while the area heals and the titanium screws start to fuse with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. After your permanent set of customized teeth are fabricated at a dental lab, your dentist will replace the temporary set and adjust the fit if needed.
All-On-6 implants use six dental implants to support a full arch of teeth, but unlike All-On-4 implants, which are similar in appearance to dentures, All-On-6 implants resemble a dental bridge, with implant-anchored teeth connected to non-anchored teeth. The implants are typically placed on the lateral incisors, canines, and first molars, and as with All-On-4 implants, you will receive a temporary prosthesis to wear while your gums heal and the screws fuse to your jawbone.
As the name implies, All-On-8 dental implants use eight dental implants per arch, and also resemble a dental bridge like All-On-6 implants. The implants are usually placed at the front of the mouth, including the central incisors (front teeth), but your dentist might adjust the placement based on your specific needs. All-On-8 implants are generally recommended for patients who have lost more than 80% of their natural teeth, although you must have sufficient jawbone density for the procedure—if not, you might need to have a bone grafting procedure first.
Single-tooth dental implants include a medical-grade titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone and capped with a natural-looking prosthetic tooth. Full-mouth dental implants use the same materials and technology, but instead of replacing each individual missing tooth with an implant, only a few implants are used to anchor a full arch of teeth, offering all the benefits of dental implants at a much lower cost. Additionally, for certain full-mouth implant options, such as All-On-4, you don’t need to have the sufficient jawbone density required of single-tooth implants.
Full-mouth dental implants are a great option if you need to replace a full mouth or full arch of teeth, but not everyone is an eligible candidate. To be considered for a full-mouth dental implant procedure, you must:
Most medical procedures have risks and potential complications, and full-mouth dental implant surgery is not exempt. In addition to infection and anesthesia-related risks, about 5% of dental implant patients experience implant failure, which is when the titanium screw fails to fuse with the jawbone. This is mainly due to insufficient jawbone density, untreated gum disease, or the effects of smoking tobacco, which is why the first step in the dental implant procedure is a comprehensive exam with X-rays to determine your eligibility.