If you need more than one tooth replacement, you may want to consider All-on-4 dental implants. The cost of dental implants for a full mouth restoration can be excessively high, so you’ll almost certainly be looking at ways to save money on your treatment. All-on-4 implants cost less than a full set of dental implants cost, as they require fewer implants in the jaw than traditional methods.
What are All-on-4 dental implants?
All-on-4, a registered trademark of Nobel Biocare, is a technique for replacing teeth using fewer implants than traditional methods. This technique has the following three traits:
1. As few as four implants per jaw
Where a full mouth of implants using traditional methods would require 8-10 implants per jaw, the All-on-4 technique uses just four. Sometimes five or six are needed on the upper jaw due to lower bone density.
This x-ray shows the placement of the All-on 4 implants
2. Angled rear implants for optimum strength
Rather than being inserted vertically, the rear implants are at a 30-45 degree angle. This angle reduces the need for bone augmentation and means even patients who have suffered bone loss should be eligible for All-on-4, without having to go through the costly and lengthy process of a bone graft.
3. The ability to be implanted and fitted in a day
This last trait has earned them the nickname ‘teeth in a day’, ‘smile in a day’ or ‘same day teeth’. This is a drastic improvement on traditional implant procedures which can take six months or more to complete with extensive recovery time at each step of the process.
All-on-4 procedure pros
All-on-4 dental implants offer many benefits over conventional implants and removable dentures. These include:
- Short treatment and recovery time
- Implants placed on the same day as extraction
- Comfortable and stable structure to support crowns and bridges
- Fixed in place; no need to remove for cleaning
- Don’t slip or fall out
- Suitable for patients with jaw bone loss
- Cheaper than traditional techniques that use 8-10 implants
All-on-4 procedure cons
Of course, All-on-4 dental implants have problems as well:
- Results may not be as good as with traditional implants
- Some people report problems with spitting or hissing while speaking
- Some dentists see it as a ‘shortcut’ to replacing teeth properly
- Not a fully customized solution
- A single implant failing can cause problems with the whole jaw
- The artificial gum bridge may feel bulky in your mouth
Keep reading for more information about each of these pros and cons and how they might affect you.
All-on-4 vs. dentures
All-on-4 implants are sometimes mistakenly referred to ‘All-on-4 dentures.’ That’s probably because the traditional way to replace a full jaw of teeth is with removable dentures. Also known as ‘false teeth’, these consist of a gum-colored acrylic base and teeth made from resin or porcelain.
Full mouth dental implants feel much more naturalthan conventional dentures
Dentures fit over the gums and stay in place either with suction alone or with a dental adhesive. Properly fitting dentures shouldn’t require any adhesive.
However, the supporting bone shrinks over time as there are no teeth for it to hold in place, and this change of shape will cause dentures to become loose. This means they need to be replaced regularly to avoid discomfort and problems eating.
Removable dentures are custom-made to precisely fit the patient’s mouth. The upper denture covers the roof of the mouth and the lower one is a horseshoe shape to allow room for the tongue. They must be removed for cleaning, usually overnight (hence the cliché of false teeth in a glass on the bedside table).
In contrast, All-on-4 implants are fixed in place and should act just like natural teeth in terms of appearance, chewing, and comfort. There is no risk of them slipping out of place while the wearer is talking or eating.
Although the prosthetic teeth are fixed to an artificial gum, this covers only a small area of the real gum when compared to dentures. The join is hidden far enough behind the lips that it won’t be visible when you smile.
Dentures offer a clear cost advantage over any kind of implants but they do need to be replaced every five years on average.
All-on-4 vs. regular implants
If you need a set of full dental implants, implant bridges can help
The conventional way to replace a full jaw of teeth with a set of full dental implants would be with a combination of single-tooth implants and implant-supported dental bridges. Bridges allow several ‘teeth’ to be supported by one implant at each end instead of one implant per tooth. This technique usually requires 8-10 implants per jaw for full dental implants.
You can read more about how traditional implants are fitted here.
While both techniques involve drilling sockets in the jaw bone, All-on-4 requires fewer implants. This makes the process quicker, easier, and more comfortable for the patient. It can also be considerably cheaper because of the reduction in time and materials required.
Aside from the lower cost, a big advantage of All-on-4 is the reduced treatment time. Dentures can be affixed as soon as the implants have been placed, rather than the patient having to wait six months or more for healing as is the case with traditional implants. Usually, temporary dentures are placed on the day of surgery and permanent ones are added a few months later.
The following table shows the key differences between dentures, regular implants, and All-on-4:
|Placement||Attached to 4-6 titanium implants in the jaw bone||Attached to 8-10 titanium implants in the jaw bone||Rest on the gums; may require adhesive|
|Eligibility||Suitable for patients with bone loss||May require a bone graft||Suitable for most patients|
|Eating||Fixed in place; act like natural teeth; few eating restrictions once healed||Fixed in place; act like natural teeth; few eating restrictions once healed||Can move when you chew; certain foods must be avoided|
|Longevity||10+ years||10-15 years||Will need to be replaced as the gums change shape (every 5 years on average)|
|Bone loss||Implants help maintain the bone||Implants help maintain the bone||Continued bone loss is inevitable, causing the denture to loosen|
|Coverage in the mouth||Artificial gums with minimal contact||Crowns attached directly to existing gums||Acrylic plate covers much of the gums and roof of the mouth|
|Appearance||Like natural teeth; gum join hidden behind lips||Like natural teeth; no artificial gum||Like natural teeth; loss of bone may cause face to sag over time|
|Cleaning||Cleaned like normal teeth||Cleaned like normal teeth||Must be removed for cleaning (usually overnight)|
|Cost per jaw||$4,000 – $8,000||$6,000 – $15,000||$650 – $1000 depending on material|
The fitting procedure
Your first step in the procedure will be a consultation with your chosen dentist. During this consultation, they will examine your mouth and do a CT scan. This scan lets them assess your suitability for implants. They can check your existing jaw bone density to determine precisely where the implants should be inserted.
Your dentist should also discuss alternative treatment options with you before you commit to anything.
If you are a suitable candidate and decide to go ahead, the next step will be dental impressions. These are sent to a lab where your new dental bridge is designed to fit and look just like natural teeth.
Your dentist may also take some x-rays to help with planning your treatment.
If you need to have teeth extracted before your implants are inserted, this can usually be done on the same day.
The overdenture is permanently fixedto the All-on-4 implants
Your dentist or oral surgeon will probably offer you a sedative to help you relax during the procedure. Then they will anesthetize you so you don’t feel any pain. If you would prefer to have a general anesthetic for your All-on-4 treatment, ask your dentist about this at your initial consultation.
After any remaining teeth are extracted your mouth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove any damaged tissue and bacteria.
The dentist drills two or more holes at the front of your jaw to hold the front implants. Two holes at the rear, one on each side, are angled to offer greater support to the rear of the bridge.
Once the implants are placed, your mouth is cleaned again and any incisions are stitched up. It’s common for dentists to use dissolvable stitches which disappear after a week or two.
Either the same day or the following day you’ll be fitted with your new teeth. Some dentists create a temporary overdenture at this stage which is then replaced a few months later. This is often made from resin, a lighter but less durable material, which puts less pressure on your All-on-4 implants while they heal.
Patients usually experience some bruising, swelling and general discomfort in the days after their surgery. You’ll probably want to take a couple of days off work to recover fully and get used to your new teeth.
These implants are cleaned just like your normal teeth, by brushing once a day. Your dentist will also show you how to floss with special tools. You might want to invest in a water flosser with special attachments designed to clean around implants.Your dentist will advise you on the type of foods you can and cannot eat in the months after your treatment. For the first few months, you’ll probably have to stick to very soft foods so you don’t disturb the process of the implants fusing with your bone. You might also be advised to avoid things like smoking and heavy exercise for a while.
Final checks and fitting
6-9 months after surgery, your implants should be ready to support a permanent overdenture. This is usually made from porcelain or some other durable and high-quality material.
If you look after your new teeth carefully, they should last for 20 years or longer.
You’ll need to return to your dentist for regular checkups and maintenance. Check whether these visits are included in your treatment cost or whether you’ll have to pay for them separately.
Where can I get All-on-4 dental implants?
Look for an implantologist who specializes in All-on-4 treatment. Make sure they have some experience with this type of implant since not all dentists use the same systems. You can find an All-on-4 dentist the same way you would find any dentist, by using an online or hardcopy directly. You should also ask your own dentist if they offer All-on-4 implants, or if they can recommend anyone to you.
Once you find your All-on-4 dentist, they will discuss your treatment plan at your initial consultation. Remember, if you’re not a suitable candidate for All-on-4 they will recommend an alternative treatment.
Many Westerners travel to Vietnam or other Asia countries to take advantage of cheaper dental work.
How much do full dental implants cost?
The cost of full dental implants depends on whether you choose full mouth dental implants, like All-on-4 dental implants, or if you get individual traditional implants.
How much is a full set of dental implants? (With separate implants)
The cost of full dental implants, using traditional implants, is much more than the cost of full mouth dental implants like all-on-4 dental implants. A full arch of dental implants (using the traditional method) will cost on average $40,000.
How much do All-on-4 dental implants cost?
So how much does it cost to get a full mouth of dental implants in the US? The cost of full mouth dental implants is around $12,000 to $25,000 per jaw in the US, EU and Australia. This depends on the number of implants you need and the material you choose for your permanent All-on-4 dentures.
As with any dental work, it’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes from several All-on-4 clinics in your area. Dental implants cost, for a full mouth restoration, can vary considerably from one clinic to another. However, you shouldn’t get implants based on price alone. It’s more important to find a trained professional who has experience carrying out the procedure you require.
If you need to replace one or more teeth, for health or esthetic reasons, you may be interested in All-on-4 dental implants. This type of full mouth dental implants is an innovative way to replace more teeth with fewer implants. And they are less expensive than a full set of separate teeth implants.
Even so, full mouth dental implants cost a lot of money, depending on your financial situation. So remember, if you’re looking for a way to make All-on-4 implants more affordable, consider taking out a dental loan and/or visiting a dentist overseas. Even with the cost of your trip factored in, it can be much more affordable than getting All-on-4 dental implants at home.