Our teeth are an integral part of our overall health.
Tooth decay. Gum disease. These things eventually lead to tooth loss. Apart from your physical appearance and how you feel about yourself, tooth loss causes problems with chewing, speaking, eating, and can even affect your health systemically. Tooth loss is linked to medical problems ranging from nutritional deficiencies to diabetes and heart disease. And when a tooth is lost, the surrounding bone quickly starts to deteriorate.
If you’re one of the 120 million Americans who suffers from tooth loss, you have likely started to explore your tooth replacement options. You may have decided on an All-on-4 implant as only four implants are needed to place an entire arch of teeth. Restorative implants will preserve the bone density in the surrounding areas, and help you get your healthy smile back. So what can be expected during this process?
The Placement Process
At Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center, a skilled prosthodontist will do the All-on-4 placement procedure. After you are given sedation, the surgery will begin. Any remaining teeth are removed, your bone is smoothed down, and the prosthodontist will place four small titanium screws into your upper or lower arch, depending on which one is being done. The prosthesis is then fitted onto the implants. The entire process takes 2½ hours, and your new set of teeth will be fitted on the same day.
Recovering from the Procedure
It will take a few days for your mouth to heal. It is important to put as little pressure on the site as possible, so don’t spit and don’t drink from straws.
When it comes to pain, you may be wondering what to expect. Everyone is individual in how much pain they experience. Some only need a little ibuprofen; others will need a hydrocortisone prescription. Oozing from the site in the first 24 hours and some bruising and swelling is to be expected. If you have a lot of abnormal bleeding, or begin developing a dry socket—where the blood clot dislodges from the tooth extraction site—contact your surgeon.
You may find that for the first three days, a cold compress and consuming cold liquids/ smoothies help to relieve that pain and swelling. After day three, switch to heat—warm foods and warm compresses.
When it comes to diet, stick to soft foods for the first few days. Avoid foods that are spicy, crunchy, or have seeds in them. After a few weeks, you can start eating whatever you like.
You have good things to look forward to.
After your restorative All-on-4 implant has been placed, you will begin to enjoy the freedom that comes with having a functioning set of teeth. These implants function very similarly to natural teeth, so the stability of the bones surrounding your teeth will be maintained.
With a full set of teeth, problematic speaking and chewing will be a thing of the past.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of your restorative implants is that you will be able to eat whatever you want. Because All-on-4 implants are strong and secure, there really are no restrictions to what you can and cannot eat.
But before you even get a chance to use your new teeth, you will be aware of the best thing about this All-on-4 implant—your smile. You will have a beautiful new smile that will boost your confidence, make you feel good about yourself, and transform your entire world.
Caring for Your New Teeth
Preventative maintenance is crucial for the success of your implants. While caring for an All-on-4 implant is quite similar to caring for natural teeth, there will be some notable differences in your oral hygiene routine.
The material is less prone to decay compared with natural teeth, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need brushing. You can use any soft-bristled brush and be sure to brush for two minutes. Gum care is especially important. Stimulate your gums to encourage a tight seal. Rubber tip stimulators and water picks are good tools for this; use the water pick every day at the gumline.
When it comes to cleaning in between the teeth, you can floss, however, it’s very important to floss gently and not as deeply as you would on regular teeth. Tiny shreds of the floss can become lodged in the gumline, weakening the seal of your implant. Use interdental brushes and your water pick to dislodge those tiny particles of food between your teeth.
You will still need to get your routine dental exams, go in for your regular cleanings, and maintain X-rays as directed by your dentist. It is very important that the bone density around the gums is monitored. Most of all, don’t forget to smile. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop!
Are you wondering if All-on-4 might be right for your smile? The best way to find out is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz to discuss your options. He can help you find the smile solution for you!