Understanding the All-on-4/All-on-X Process

What are All-on-4 Dental Implants? 

The dental industry has made great strides in the last decade, and part of that progress has been possible due to changes in technology, and vast improvements in the types of equipment now available. As with any new technology, understanding the process, as well as the capabilities and limits of the technology is key to ensuring the best possible treatment for each individual patient. 

New technology has changed the way we deal with dental care and dental treatment. Gone are the days when crooked teeth could only be fixed with braces, and losing teeth meant uncomfortable and often ill-fitting dentures. While it is exciting to know we have more options, the sheer variety of treatments can make it hard for people to know what kind of treatment will work for them.

We, at Meza Dental, realize that building trust in a new process often requires a better understanding, so we’d like to explain a bit about your options, so you have enough knowledge to choose the dental treatment best suited to your individual situation and needs.

In many cases, the most viable new procedure for people who need a full arch replacement is known as All-on-4. You will also see it listed as All-on-X because the “x” in this case stands for the number of dental implants required, and that depends completely on the structure and health of a patient’s jawbone. For this article, we will refer to it as All-on-X.

So, What Are All-on-X Implants?

Basically, it is a process by which patients who require extensive work such as a full arch replacement in order to restore functionality to their mouth, can do so without the time and expense of a large number of individual implants. 

Instead, based on the strength and health of your jawbone, the dentist will determine the best placement of 4-8 implants per arch (top or bottom, or both) and use those implants to permanently fix a prosthesis to them. This prosthesis will rest against these implants where it isn’t visible and provide the look of both teeth and gums when you smile. This prosthesis is built to order and based on exact measurements, to ensure proper functionality, and to create a smile that looks amazing.

Once it is perfectly fitted, it will be permanently attached to the implants that have been put into your jaw, so there is no need to remove them, except for repair or maintenance. This type of prosthesis provides patients with a sturdy chewing surface that is stress-free and can be maintained much in the same way as your natural teeth. Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, your permanent prosthesis will be made from zirconia which is extremely durable and will be fitted to your mouth for the most comfortable chewing possible.

Am I a Candidate for the All-on-X Procedure?

If you are missing a few teeth, but otherwise have good dental health, the All-on-X procedure would not be the best option for you, and here is why.

The All-on-X procedure requires the removal of all of your teeth. For someone whose teeth are fully functional, this just doesn’t make sense. No matter how advanced the technology gets, keeping your natural teeth is always the best option. That is because your natural teeth are held in place by ligaments that act like little shock absorbers, helping to gauge how hard to bite down, thus protecting your teeth from breakage.

However, if you have multiple missing or broken teeth, are experiencing a lot of pain, and/or have already tried a partial bridge or dentures, this treatment might well be exactly what you need to return your smile to what it’s meant to be.

If you have lost bone density in your jaw, or some of your jawbones is not thick enough to hold individual implants, the All-on-X treatment allows the dentist to find the most viable places within your jaw, put the implants there, and then build the prosthesis to match. 

Think of the prosthesis as a bridge, the more pilings the bridge has, the stronger the structure is.

So, how do you know if you have enough bone structure? Modern advancements in technology mean that dentists have access to digital imaging equipment that is worlds away from the x-ray machines of the past. While x-ray imaging is still useful in many procedures, radiographic images, such as CT Scans, allow your dentist the ability to see exactly how thick your jaw bone is, as well as how dense it is. It also helps them find the best possible locations for those all-important implants.

What is “Teeth-in-a-Day?”

Perhaps the most common question when it comes to this type of procedure is, “How long will it take?” That’s because there is a wide variety of opinions on the topic. 

A common procedure being offered today as part of the All-on-X method is known as “Teeth-in-a-Day.” 

So, what is it? 

“Teeth-In-A-Day” is a procedure that allows patients who are having teeth extracted to have their implants placed the same day and restorations done immediately. In other words, these offices will provide you with a full set of permanent prosthetic teeth on the same day as your extraction.

While you will find many dental practices offering “Teeth-in-a-Day” services online, this type of procedure has some fairly extensive drawbacks. Here are a few:

  • For your prosthesis to fit properly and provide full functionality in the most comfortable way possible, your jaw and gums must be fully healed, and healing takes time, up to 4-8 months! 
  • Improperly fitted pieces may allow the introduction of harmful bacteria which leads to infections and potential damage to the underlying bone
  • Improperly fitted pieces break
  • Ensuring that your permanent prosthesis fits perfectly takes time

Why Meza Dental Seldom Uses the “Teeth-in-a-Day” Method

At Meza Dental, our goal is to ensure that the job is done right the first time so that your new smile lasts as long as possible and provides you with the best possible comfort and functionality. The idea that you can get a major dental surgery done in a day and walk out with a brand new smile can be tempting, we understand. Believe it or not, most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist! 

Still, the adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” definitely applies in this case, and here is why:

  • Many of the Teeth-in-a-Day procedures that you see on the internet will indeed remove all of your teeth, place implants, and create a prosthesis in one visit, but in many cases, the final prosthesis is created from low-grade materials such as PMMA, which is a polymer, simply because it’s faster to produce. These materials simply won’t hold up for long under normal conditions and will require much more maintenance and repair. The multi step process allows you to switch this temporary prosthesis for a permanent one made of stronger materials after your mouth has healed (about 6 months)
  • The Teeth-in-a-Day method requires repeated fittings/follow-ups (every two weeks0 and this isn’t practical for international patients
  • Another issue with this type of service is that the removal of all of your teeth is a major surgery and will result in a large amount of swelling. Any measurements that are taken to fit your prosthesis can’t be accurate. The healing process can take months depending on the amount of work done, and your overall health. While you heal, and the inflammation fades, the size of your gums/jaw will shrink, changing the fit and potentially creating stresses that will damage your new teeth.
  • Implants are attached by using a drill that has threads and screwing the implant into the hole in the same way you would a bolt. While the implant is fresh, the only thing holding it in place are those tiny threads. Over time, the bone regrows around the implant, essentially cementing it into place and providing additional support. This means that the prosthesis is better able to handle the load that you put on it when you chew. If you put too much strain on it before it is fully healed, the implants can loosen and move, again changing the way your new smile fits, and functions, and potentially causing breakage.

What is the Process Used by Meza Dental?

Meza Dental prefers to take the time to do the job right. A properly made and fitted permanent prosthesis is created to your measurements (after the jaw and gums are healed) out of zirconia, a material so strong and durable that it can last 10-15 years. That’s the kind of smile we want to offer our patients. The kind that lasts! No one wants to spend their retirement dealing with repairs every few months or struggling with ill-fitting teeth. That’s why we prefer to work on a two-part process.

Now, don’t worry. We won’t be sending you home toothless, and expecting you to gum it while you heal. The first part of our process is much the same as the smile-in-a-day process. Your teeth will be extracted, and your implants will be placed in a single visit. And you will be fitted for a custom-made set of temporary teeth so that you can maintain your smile and your ability to function while you heal because that’s important to your quality of living. 

*Note- this procedure does not replace all 28 teeth. Instead, you will have 10-12 teeth per arch, depending on your individual needs.

The main difference is that we ask you to come back for a second visit, once your jawbone and gums have fully healed so that we can make accurate measurements of your mouth in its normal state. At that point, we can use a new scan to digitally create the smile you’ve always wanted, and then build a prototype out of plastic so that it can be inserted and tested for fit and aesthetics, and adjusted as needed. This step takes time, but the end result is worth it!

Once we are completely satisfied that it’s perfect, we will begin the process of creating your permanent prosthesis out of zirconia. Zirconia is the perfect substance for this type of work because it is durable and strong, and its surface is so smooth that it actually helps to prevent the growth of bacteria!

The beauty of dental tourism is that, while we work on creating your perfect smile, you’re free to explore the beauty of a tropical paradise. We have staff dedicated to helping you plan the perfect trip. They are experts in their field and you can trust them to help create an experience you will never forget.

Once the prosthesis is complete and installed and you’ve had your final follow-up, you can expect to enjoy your smile for years to come with minimal maintenance. We will send you home with plenty of information about caring for and maintaining your new smile, so you can forget all about them and get back to enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

A Final Word About the All-on-X Procedure

As we’ve mentioned before, your smile is as unique as you are. While the All-on-X Procedure isn’t for everyone, it is the kind of treatment that was impossible to imagine not so long ago. In the 24 years since this procedure was first used, there have been countless advancements in the field of dentistry, and advancements continue to be made.

The very best thing that you can do, the very first step to finding your perfect smile, is to talk to a qualified dentist. Tell them your concerns. Talk about your dental history. You may be surprised at how many possibilities exist in the realm of digital dentistry.

If you have a trusted dental care provider, feel free to reach out to them. And if you’d prefer, our staff are always ready and willing to answer all of your questions. Just click the link below for a consultation. We are happy to provide a free estimate, with no obligation, so you can start your journey to healthy, functional, beautiful teeth.

Click here for your Free Consultation
Call Toll-Free from U.S. & Canada at 1-(877)-337-6392 or
E-mail: contact@mezadentalcare.com

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