ancaster dentistry

The Difference Between Dentures and All-On-4 Dental Implants In Ancaster, ON

If you’ve had all of your teeth removed, deciding between All-On implants and dentures can have a lasting impact on your smile.

While the number of people missing all of their teeth has significantly decreased in recent decades, millions of Canadians have no remaining natural teeth. Traditionally, these patients would be given a denture, allowing them to pop their false teeth in and out as needed throughout the day. However, not everyone wants a denture, especially with common drawbacks like their relatively short lifespan and slipping or falling out when eating. Thankfully, dentistry has come so much farther, and patients no longer need to rely on a removable set of false teeth. Let’s talk about All-On-4, the most popular full mouth dental implants .

Like other types of dental implants, the All-On method permanently fixes your false teeth to dental implants surgically embedded in the jaw. With All-On-4 specifically, all of your teeth are screwed into four implants placed along your jaw. There are also All-On-6 implants, but only four implants are needed for providing the necessary foundation to support a complete set of false teeth.

Dental implants are composed of three key components: an implant, abutment, and a prosthesis.

  • Implant: a titanium screw or post inserted in the jaw where your old tooth had been. It will fuse with the bone to keep your false teeth secure and prevent slipping.
  • Abutment: the metal connectors acting as the bridge between the implants and prosthesis. It is the glue holding your entire set of false teeth together and keeping them solidly in place.
  • Prosthesis: the set of false teeth that screw into the abutments, completing your smile. Traditional implants use a dental crown, but All-On-4 implants use a modified denture.


How does the All-on-4 Dental Implant treatment concept differ from dentures?

Comparing Complete Dentures

A complete denture is a false set of removable teeth held in place through your jaw and gums’ unique shape and the adhesive power of your saliva. With a close custom fit, they can stay put with little sliding around or falling out. However, you should be careful with them, taking care not to eat crunchy foods that could cause them to slip under the prosthetic and cause painful problems for your gums. Patients also need to make sure they take out their dentures at night and give them a thorough cleaning before soaking them overnight.

In contrast, All-On-4 dental implants can only be removed by your dentist, and they’re perfectly safe to leave in at night. You don’t have to worry about them falling out while you’re eating or speaking, and they stay comfortable for years. They also last much longer. While removable dentures have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years, All-On-4 dental implants can last more than two decades. The implants themselves can even last a lifetime with good care.

When deciding between dentures vs implants, it’s easy to see which is the better choice overall. Compared to All-On-4 dental implants, traditional dentures have several disadvantages:

  • Require you to be more careful with your diet
  • No longer fit as well over time
  • Need adjustments and relining
  • Can slip and fall out
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Less comfortable

Removable dentures also have a significant dental health drawback: gradual bone loss. Your jawbone, which supports your teeth, depends on the daily pressure and stimulation provided by your teeth’s roots to maintain itself and stay healthy. With your teeth’s roots gone, the bone starts shrinking in a process called bone resorption. The more teeth that are missing, the faster the jaw disappears. Within the first year, between a quarter to half of the original bone can be gone. Along with declining oral health as your jaw weakens, you’ll also start noticing significant facial sagging.

Unlike traditional dentures, dental implants are directly embedded in the jaw. The implant screw acts as a wholly artificial root for your false teeth, providing nearly the same level of chewing and bite force as your original teeth. And since the implants are inserted at a slight angle that more evenly distributes this force, All-On-Four significantly reduces the amount of bone loss you experience over time. As the jaw and mouth stay better intact, your oral health doesn’t decline, and your false teeth can last significantly longer.


Other Denture Implant Alternatives: Snap-In Dentures

Not all implant-supported dentures are fixed like the All-On treatment. Snap-in dentures  are a popular way to still enjoy dental implants’ health benefits with a more traditional set of false teeth. As their name suggests, rather than being screwed into the implants, the dental prosthesis is snapped into them similarly to snap-on buttons on jackets and bags.

These types of dental implants don’t need as much of a solid base. While patients often use four implants, they only need a minimum of two to hold their false teeth in place. The opposite is true too, and patients can have as many as ten. This might better preserve the original jawbone, but it’s much more costly and takes more time, visits, and bone grafting to complete.


Can You Replace Dentures With Implants?

If you already have dentures, you can still replace them with All-On-4 dental implants. However, the process isn’t as simple as inserting implants into your jaw and connecting them to your existing denture. Your current denture isn’t compatible with implants, so a denture dentist must prepare a new set of false teeth. Additionally, your jaw has most likely already experienced a significant amount of jaw bone resorption. While the All-On procedure can preserve your jaw’s alveolar bone, they also need a sufficient amount of foundation to support four titanium implants. These implants must merge with the jaw to keep them and your full mouth prosthetic anchored securely in place.

If their denture has caused too much bone loss, some patients can bypass an additional surgery with mini dental implants. These titanium implants are smaller than traditional ones, often about half the size of the originals. They don’t require as much bone tissue to keep them fixed in place. Also, you can cut down the overall treatment timeline for dental implants because they require less time to heal and integrate with the alveolar jawbone. Otherwise, you will need dental bone grafting.


What Is Dental Bone Grafting?

Dental bone grafts allow our team to prepare your mouth for implant surgery by replacing your missing alveolar bone with transplanted material. This new tissue is typically taken from the back of the jaw, but donated material from other people or synthesized in a lab can be used too. Once surgically placed with the suitable material, the new and old tissues will integrate and promote new bone growth.

Does all implant work require bone grafting? No, but grafting is an incredibly popular procedure with dental implant patients. About half of all implant patients need at least some amount of grafting. This is much more common with All-On patients because they experience much faster and more drastic bone loss than those who’ve lost only one or two teeth. Due to this reason, some patients may need multiple grafts before they can start the All-On process.


How Much Does It Cost To Replace All Your Teeth?

All-on-4 and other denture implants are typically more costly than traditional removable dentures. Why are implants so expensive? Implants take more visits, time, and specialized care than dentures. The entire dental implant process can take between six months to a year, depending on whether you need prerequisite treatments, such as dental bone grafting. Your dentist needs to diligently plan and execute each step of your implant procedure to ensure your new teeth succeed and last a lifetime. Rushing or cutting corners on any aspect, including healing time between visits, can ultimately cause the implants to slip and fail.

Additionally, teeth implants usually aren’t covered by dental insurance like more affordable dentures are. Some full-coverage plans include them, but many only provide part of the denture prosthetic’s cost and not the titanium implants or abutments. Ultimately, your treatment’s price depends on several factors:

  • Number of visits
  • Cost of implants
  • Cost of abutments
  • Cost of full-mouth prosthetic
  • If dental bone grafting is required
  • If dental sedation is used

However, the Smiling Dental team is dedicated to giving our patients affordable implants and dental care . In addition to our dental insurance network, we offer in-house financing such as our Smile Now Plan. We also have extended payment arrangements, which you can discuss in detail with our caring dentists.

If you’re ready and excited to restore your missing smile, our dentists are here to help! Call our Ancaster dental office today at 289-768-9905 to schedule an appointment with us.


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