For some people, there comes a point when they say to themselves, “OK, it’s time I did something with my teeth.” Dental implants might be a solution, and full mouth dental implants or All-On-Four® might be appropriate.
Reasons for this epiphany can vary greatly, and might include: frustration with constant pain, bleeding gums, a smile that they are ashamed of, inability to chew and eat, or dentures they just can’t wear.
Dental implants can help with all of these issues. They can provide comfort, stability, increased chewing efficiency, and improved self-esteem. Overall health improvement is another result reported by people soon after implant treatment is completed.
Dental implant treatment options can vary greatly: 2 to 6 implants can be placed to stabilize a denture, individual implants can be placed to replace missing teeth, or 4 to 6 implants can be utilized to provide permanent teeth. This last option is called All-On-Four®, or full mouth dental implants. This option is appropriate when all remaining teeth require removal, but it is very important to understand this is not everyone’s situation. Oftentimes, people arrive to my office thinking this is what they require, and they are pleasantly surprised when I can present multiple options to them, and some of these options help them to keep their teeth.
In the All-On-Four® option, any remaining teeth are removed, 4 to 6 implants are placed, and teeth are attached to the implants. These 3 steps are typically performed in one appointment, so the patient is able to leave the dental office with teeth the same day. It should be noted that these are temporary teeth: the final teeth will be fabricated approximately 4 to 6 months later.
All-On-Four® has revolutionized implant dentistry. Although more expensive than dentures, it is less expensive than traditional full-mouth implant reconstruction. Costly and time-consuming grafting can oftentimes be avoided, too. Furthermore, pain levels are significantly decreased.
People sometimes think they are not implant candidates because of their age. This is a misconception. In fact, as a person ages, it becomes more important to be able to eat so that proper nutritional needs are met. Dentures do not provide proper biting force to chew food, plus they weaken the jaw. Implants improve chewing ability, and strengthen the jaw as compared to dentures. A person’s health is a key factor when considering implants, not age.
Who should perform dental implant procedures? Only well-qualified dentists who have had extensive training in implant dentistry. Some patients think they have to see an oral surgeon or periodontist (gum specialist). This is not true. It is not so important as to what type of dentist places them, but rather how much training and experience they have. Also, don’t forget that there is a second part to the implant once it is placed: one or more teeth have to be placed on top of the implant. If an implant is placed while ignoring this second part of the treatment, disastrous results may follow. One reason many people seek out my office is because we perform both phases of implant dentistry (placement AND restoration) in the same location: patients do not have to see multiple doctors in multiple offices.
About the author: Dr. Ira Goldberg has been performing implant procedures for 24 years. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology / Implant Dentistry, a Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He performs all phases of implant dentistry at his office in Succasunna, NJ. He lectures to dentists in the field of implantology. For a free consultation, including a free 3-D scan (if necessary), please call his office at (973) 328-1225 or visit his website at www.MorrisCountyDentist.com Dr. Goldberg is a general dentist, and also a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.