If you are missing most of your teeth, or your dentist needs to extract most of them due to health issues, then you may think that your only option is dentures. After all, a single implant can cost thousands of dollars, so replacing so many teeth with implants may not be a viable solution.
However, many people prefer implants because they are aesthetically pleasing and permanent. Implants also prevent the loss of bone density in the jaw. Thankfully, you can opt for full-arch implants which are more reasonable than single-tooth implants.
What are full-arch implants?
Full-arch implants—sometimes known implant-supported dentures or all-on-four implants—are implants that support multiple teeth in either the maxilla (upper jaw) or mandible (lower jaw). As the name would suggest, all-on-four implants are four implants that hold about twelve teeth. Because implants aren't required for every tooth, full-arch implants are a much more affordable option for those missing the majority of their teeth.
Does it matter if you get four, five, or six implants?
Some full-arch implants may contain five or six implants for better stability. All-on-four implants are a good option if you've had gum infections in the past, as the implants are spaced further apart for better healing. All-on-four options are also more economical if you need to get a full arch replacement in both the maxilla and mandible.
Are there any contraindications?
If you smoke, your dentist may have you stop temporarily, as this habit can constrict blood vessels. When vessels constrict, your body can't bring enough nutrients and fresh blood for proper healing. If you have an illness, like diabetes, you may also need to get your glucose under control before the dentist will operate on you since it can take longer for the bone to heal. Implants generally have good success rates, so be sure to follow your dentist's recommendations for any issues you may have.
How can you mentally prepare for the procedure?
Again, full-arch implants have numerous benefits, but you need to be ready for this physical change. Proprioception, or the ability of one to sense the orientation of his or her body in space, can be diminished temporarily after implant placement. People struggle with proprioception in terms of speech. As your tongue contacts the hard palate, you may find that you struggle with "D," "N," and "T" sounds. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm. Your body will adjust to the prosthesis and crowns.
You also need to be prepared to improve your hygiene care and possibly change your diet. If you ate a lot of sugar in the past, it's a good idea to start reducing your sugar intake. Sugar can decay any remaining teeth, thus affecting your bones and increasing your risk of fractures in the implants. Lastly, although the implants are very strong, you need to be careful with what you eat similar to dentures and other restorations. This means you shouldn't chew hard candy or eat highly sticky foods, like taffy.
For more information on full-arch procedures and full-arch maintenance, contact a dental office like Laguna Hills Prosthodontics today.