Missing Teeth

I Have Some Missing Teeth – Is All-On-4 the Answer to Getting Them Fixed?

All-On-4 is a treatment that can be used in patients with several missing teeth. It is most common in patients with low jawbone volume, in other words, patients who do not have sufficient jawbone to support normal dental implants. To understand the procedure, let us take a closer look at the factors that could affect the amount of jawbone you have and the requirements to be eligible for normal dental implant procedures.

What Are the Factors That Can Decrease Jawbone?

There are several denominators that can decrease jawbone volume in a patient. One of the most predominant factors is a tooth extraction. When a dentist removes an adult tooth, or when a tooth is lost during an accident, the jawbone that used to support that tooth can start to deteriorate. Of course, the same applies to several missing teeth, which can affect jawbone loss in a greater degree.

Secondly, jawbone can also start to deteriorate because of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an umbrella term used to describe various ongoing infections of the gums, which will start to affect the support of your teeth over a long period of time. If periodontal disease is left untreated, it eventually affects major tooth-supporting structures. In addition to that, it could also lead to further tooth loss.

Dentures can also decrease the amount of jawbone you have. Considering dentures are placed on top of the gum line, and do not stimulate the jawbone underneath as a tooth would, jawbone will also deteriorate over time. However, some dentures are supported by anchors, which do preserve the jawbone.

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Misalignment of the teeth can lead to bone loss as well, because misalignment can lead to certain teeth no longer having an opposing tooth structure. Therefore, unopposed teeth can over-erupt and deteriorate the bone underneath.

There is also a certain bacterial infection called osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone and the bone marrow of the jaw. When the infection is left untreated, the condition will turn into a full-blown inflammation, which reduces the blood flow to the bone and makes the bone deteriorate.

Tumours can be a contributor to bone loss as well, although they are less common than periodontal disease or misalignment. Even though some of these tumours may be benign, some tumours can grow to such a size surgeons need to remove a part of the jaw.

Last but not least, genetic deformities and defects could also cause a deterioration in bone volume. These deformities and defects can be seen through missing teeth, facial bones and even missing jawbone.

There are many different causes of jawbone loss, which is why surgeons and medical experts had to look for new ways to give patients permanent replacement teeth. One of these ways is bone grafting, all-on-4 the other.

What Is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a procedure aimed at the restoration of bones and joints. In order to restore lost bone, surgeons often transplant bone tissue into the defected area, for example to supplement low bone density in the jaw of patients needing permanent tooth replacements.

There are currently two common types of bone grafting, more specifically the allograft and the autograft. The allograft is a procedure that uses bone that has been acquired from a deceased donor and has been stored in a tissue bank, while the autograft is a procedure that uses bone from inside the body of the patient. Locations that can be used to acquire bone are the ribs, hips, pelvis or wrists.

When Does a Patient Consider All-On-4 and Is Bone Grafting Still Needed?

Bone grafting is not needed with the All-On-4 procedure, considering the fact that the procedure was especially invented for patients with a minimal amount of jawbone. However, there are some criteria patients need to meet in order to take advantage of the All-On-4 procedure. For example, the patient must be in good general health and cannot suffer from gum disease.

There is a wide variety of patients who could consider All-On-4 as a treatment for their missing teeth. However, the decision to choose a specific type of implant procedure should always be made with the assistance and advice of an experienced oral surgeon, and in cooperation with your current dentist.


When Is a Patient Eligible for Normal Dental Implants?

Patients with a sufficient amount of jawbone can choose normal dental implants instead. However, similar eligibility criteria apply to normal dental implant procedures as well. Therefore, patients also need to be in good health and cannot suffer from a condition that could slow down the healing process, hinder the fusion of jawbone, or increase the chance of infection.

How Do I Look After My Implants After the Procedure?

When you leave your treatment facility, you will be given sufficient information and advice regarding the care and maintenance of your dental implants. In some cases, patients will also be given some pain medication to manage any discomfort after a dental implant procedure.

Cleaning and maintaining your dental implants is not really difficult, but it is needed to increase the life of your dental implants and your replacement teeth. Patients should brush their teeth daily and also floss, this to avoid the accumulation of plaque and bacteria.

Brushing and flossing dental implants is not the only thing patients should be wary of, because patients also need to clean their gums and tongue. Given the fact that bacteria and plaque can accumulate in these areas as well, not removing these substances could lead to problems you could have with normal teeth, for example gum disease.

Last but not least, make sure you attend all the follow-up appointments with your dentist and/or oral surgeon and make a regular appointment with your dental hygienist for a thorough clean of your implants. At the end of the day, looking after your implants is the same as looking after your normal teeth. If you do a good job, you will be able to enjoy them for a long time to come.



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