All on 6 vs All on 4 Implants?
The most common cause of tooth loss is gum disease, though ultimately people can lose their teeth for multiple reasons. If you’re missing all of the teeth in the upper or lower row of your mouth, or even in both rows, you may be researching your replacement options, and you’ve probably heard of dental implants and related procedures like All on 4 or All on 6. Using individual dental implants to replace each missing tooth in a row is invasive and expensive, but All on 4 and All on 6 dental implants can help eligible patients replace all their teeth with far fewer implants. These two treatments can achieve similar results, but there are some notable differences between procedures and various reasons a dentist might recommend one instead of the other.
Both treatments require dental implant surgery; once placed, these implants support dentures that are either fixed in place or that snap in and out of the mouth. Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone, under the gums, where they fuse with the bone and support individual artificial teeth or rows of teeth. As they support the forces of biting and chewing, they provide the long-term benefit of continuously stimulating the bone so it maintains its vitality and health. This helps prevent the inevitable reabsorption of bone that occurs when the tooth roots are missing and keeps the lower face from sinking to the oral cavity. The procedure for implant placement usually takes about two or three hours and is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. All on 4 and All on 6 implants are part of a treatment that uses four or six dental implants, accordingly, to support an entire row of missing teeth held in a denture.
While dental implants help maintain the health of the jawbone, if the bone is severely compromised before implant treatment, there’s often not enough healthy bone present to support numerous implants, and bone grafts might be required before treatment can commence. When fewer dental implants can be used to support a greater number of teeth, dentists can place these implants strategically, eliminating the need for bone grafts and reducing the overall treatment time. With fewer implants present, healing time is reduced and temporary dentures can be placed on the same day as the implants. These dentures might be removable overdentures that snap on to the implants, or they could be permanently fixed in the mouth.
Many dentists recommend the All on 6 dental implant procedure more readily than the All on 4 implant procedure, believing that it delivers better stability and durability, increasing comfort and patient satisfaction. With four implants, biting force isn’t distributed as evenly as it is with six; in addition, because each implant stimulates the bone as it bears the forces of chewing, two additional implants, placed strategically, can dramatically increase health benefits across the entire jawbone and improve the long-term benefits of the treatment. Both All on 4 and All on 6 dental implants help maintain the shape and integrity of the jawbone while restoring dentition, but All on 6 dental implants provide an added boost of stimulation and robustness and might be the preferred option for you.