When you find out you need dental implants, the news can feel truly overwhelming at first. There are so many different kinds of implants and it is your big job to choose the best type of procedure to meet your health needs and appearance goals.
One of the most popular of the newer types of dental implants is a technique called “All on 4” implants. Sometimes written as simply all-on-4 or Ao4, this type of dental implant is a newer method of securing dentures in place.
The all-on-4 dental implant method uses a set of eight screws, eight implants and eight fake teeth. Why eight, you might be wondering? You need eight total since four will be used on top and four on the bottom. If you only need a denture on the top or on the bottom, you will only need four screws, implants and fake teeth.
Pretty neat, right? This way, you avoid the cost of having an implant for every tooth. You also get secure, comfortable, optimally fitted dentures you can really rely on.
So now let’s dig in and explore everything you need to know to be sure all on four dental implants are the right choice for your needs.
All on 4 Dental Implants: What Do They Cost?
Calculating the cost of your all on 4 dental implants is a little more complicated than it might first appear.
Reason being, you have options when it comes to the types of materials used in your procedure. Also, different dental insurance plans may choose to cover one material type and not another. For this reason, it is very important to talk with your insurer first before starting the research process.
All on 4 dental implants made with acrylic (composite) material.
The choice most people make is to have acrylic (often called simply “composite”) all-on-4 dental implants. This is because composite implants are the more affordable choice. They are also the option more dental insurance providers are more likely to cover.
The screws are usually titanium. All together, you can expect to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 for a full set of all-on-4 dental implants with acrylic materials.
This cost is just for the implants materials – it does not include the cost of visiting a dental specialist.
All on 4 dental implants made with porcelain material.
Porcelain is another type of material that is sometimes used to make all-on-4 dental implants. But the majority of patients don’t choose this material because it is much more expensive. For this reason, fewer dental insurers are willing to cover porcelain all-on-4 implants.
You can safely add on an additional $5,000 per set – so $10,000 if you are having both the upper and the lower dentures installed.
Porcelain is more realistic looking than acrylic/composite, but it is also more fragile. If your porcelain implant fractures or breaks, you can expect to spend around $15,000 to repair or replace it.
Because Ao4 (all-on-4) dental implants can make a big dent in your budget, you always want to ask about insurance options first.
If your dental insurance provider will not cover this procedure, ask your dentist if they provide any discounts for cash pay. Another option is to ask about dental financing. Some dentists will make financing options available to patients, either in-house or through a third-party financier.
Yet another possible choice is G4 implants, which are quite similar to Ao4 but may be cheaper. The cost reduction comes from how the G4 procedure is performed – typically it can all be done in one day.
All-On-4 Dental Implants: How Is the Procedure Done?
Just the word “implants” sometimes sounds scary. It is normal to feel anxious or even afraid of having dental implants put in. This is true even though dental implants are done more and more frequently today.
So let’s walk through a typical procedure just so you know what to expect. Your dentist may give you specific instructions for how to prepare as well.
1. You will receive numbing.
Your dentist will give you some local anesthetic at the treatment site(s). You may also be given general anesthetic. You can talk with your dentist about what is best for your needs.
2. Your dentist will prep your mouth and teeth for the surgery.
This part can vary depending on your needs and the state of your teeth and tissues. Your dentist may need to remove one or more weak or dead teeth or tissues that won’t be able to support your new ao4 implants.
Once your mouth is ready, you will receive your new titanium implant screws and implants. The typical placement is two near the front of your bite and two near the back. This way, you will have an even foundation to anchor your dentures in place.
After your new screws and implants have been placed, your dentist will suture up the implant sites. If you have had general anesthesia you will then be able to rest and wake up so you can go back home.
All-On-4 Dental Implants: What Is Recovery Like?
This is one of the most common questions new implant patients tend to have. What is recovery like? How long does it take to recover? Is there any pain?
The all-on-4 implants procedure has become very popular because it reduces the time you have to spend recovering. Also, once you have had your implants placed, they are permanent.
While you are recovering, your implants are literally fusing to your jawbone. This ensures long-term stability for your dentures.
So now let’s take a look at what the recovery process is typically like.
First 24 hours after your all-on-4 procedure.
You will wake up from anesthesia with some soft gauze packs covering each implant area. This is to keep the area safe and clean. You may see some bleeding, which is normal after sutures have been placed.
If you go home with gauze still in place, your dentist will probably ask you to change the pads every 45 minutes or so. You will be given specific instructions for how to do this.
It is important to follow your dental surgeon’s instructions for at-home surgical site care to the letter. Do not touch the surgical sites. If your dentist gives you pain medication or instructions for rinsing and flushing the area, be sure to follow these exactly. Medicated rinses are especially important to sanitize the surgical sites.
Salt water rinses can also help your tissues stay clean and sanitized and heal more quickly. Mix one TBSP salt with eight ounces warm (not hot) water. Gargle and then let the salt water flow out of your mouth (do not spit). Do this up to three times per day or as your dentist instructs.
Your dentist will probably ask you not to smoke for a period of time after your implants have been placed. This is to allow your tissues to heal more quickly.
After the first 24 hours of your Ao4 procedure.
You should make arrangements to rest as much as possible in the first several days after your all-on-4 dental implants procedure. The less you move about, the more your tissues will be able to easily knit together and begin to heal.
Especially avoid all of the following: strenuous exercise or activities, lifting heavy things, bending over.
Your dental surgeon may ask you to sleep in a special elevated position to help ease any swelling and avoid putting pressure on the surgical sites. This will also help ease any light-headedness from getting up too quickly.
It is also very important to take all prescribed medications, including anti-inflammatories, pain medications or antibiotics exactly as your dentist has prescribed them. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your dentist immediately.
You should follow a special diet of only soft warm foods until your dentist tells you otherwise.
All-On-4 Dental Implants: Are There Any Side Effects?
Sometimes no matter how careful you are after your procedure, you may experience some temporary side effects. In this section, learn what may occur and what to do.
Bleeding that won’t stop.
Recurring bleeding at or near the surgical sites can happen for a number of reasons. If you are biting down too hard on the soft gauze covering the incisions, this may cause bleeding.
If the gauze slips off and you bite down directly on the surgical site itself, this can also cause bleeding.
To minimize bleeding, sit upright, stay calm and quiet and use ice packs to reduce inflammation. Always place a towel between the ice pack and your jaw to avoid discomfort.
Call your dentist if the bleeding persists.
Mild swelling and inflammation.
Swelling and mild inflammation is a normal temporary side effect after any invasive (surgical) procedure. Usually the majority of swelling tends to wear off within three days after your implants procedure.
The sooner you start using an ice pack, the less severe your swelling is likely to be. Your dentist may also give you medication specifically to reduce inflammation.
Pain or discomfort.
Different people have different degrees of pain tolerance. However, most patients experience at least mild discomfort for a day or two after their Ao4 implants are placed.
Your dentist will give you pain medication instructions. Don’t wait to take your pain medication until you are in pain. A proactive approach is best to minimize discomfort.
You may feel hungry after the anesthetic wears off and you can go home to rest. Your dental surgeon may give you specific dietary restrictions for the first 24 to 36 hours or so after your procedure.
Choosing soft, bland foods will protect your surgical sites and also avoid any stomach upset. Some of your medications may need to be taken with food so be sure to follow the instructions your dentist gives you there.
Try to avoid any hot, cold or spicy foods and any very hard or sticky foods as these may cause discomfort.
Nausea and/or vomiting.
Sometimes anesthetic or other medications can cause people to feel nauseated or even to vomit. Usually this passes. Always call your dentist if it doesn’t pass quickly.
Discoloration or bruising.
If you see any discoloration or bruising (usually in blue, black, brown and/or yellow shades) at or near the surgical areas, this is pretty common. It indicates your tissues are beginning to heal.
Sometimes the bone left behind after teeth are removed can stick up above the gum line. If this is uncomfortable or concerning, talk with your dentist.
Dry or chapped lips.
Use chapstick or vaseline to moisten your lips as needed.
While you probably weren’t aware of it, your mouth was open for a long time during your implants procedure. This can cause a temporary sore throat. Try gently swishing with salt water or lemon water if it gets too uncomfortable.
Stiff or sore jaw muscles
Your jaw muscles had to remain open for a long time while your implants were placed. You may find your jaw feels stiff or sore because of this. Try a warm heating pad to ease any discomfort.
All-On-4 Dental Implants: Are There Any Complications?
While the all-on-four procedure is very common and safe today, there can sometimes be complications.
- Incision issues: Â Any invasive procedure can cause complications. The most common of these include infection, bleeding, scarring and failure to heal.
- Poor bone integration: Â Smoking after your procedure is one of the leading causes of poor bone integration, which can prevent the implant from securing to your existing jaw bone. Nutritional imbalance and weak bones can also play a part.
- Implant failure: Â If an implant fails, it is often due to periodontal disease.
Do You Need a Dental Vacation?
If you find that the high cost of local Ao4 dental implants doesn’t work with your budget, you may want to consider dental tourism. In this way, you can combine your procedure with a restful vacation and return looking and feeling your best. Â Scottsdale Arizona the location of our office is the perfect destination to enjoy the benefits of new teeth and a great get-a-away. Â Call us today for more information about Scottsdale dental implants with Total Freedom Dental Implant Center.