Are All-on-4 Dental Implants Safe?

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Dental treatments are usually a cause of concern and worry for many people, and dentistry as a practice carries with it a lot of stigma. As such if you are looking into a dental treatment like the all-on-4 implants for yourself or for someone else, you may have some concerns about their safety. These are perfectly natural, and are in fact an important part of the process of making sure that a particular treatment is suited to you. In this article we will look at the safety concerns around implants, and whether all-on-4 implants carry with them some safety concerns.

Safety concerns with dental implants

Dental implants have proven to be an effective and reliable method of anchoring dentures and crowns securely to the jaw. Our natural teeth are only the surface of a complex structure which also involves roots embedded into the bone beneath it. A dental implant is effectively an artificial root, which serves to anchor prosthetic teeth firmly in such a way that they can be used in a manner more similar to natural teeth.

Dental implants are now widely used across the world and have thus far proven to be a fairly safe and effective method of delivering more lasting and effective dental prostheses. There are some considerations that need to be taken into account however, and these are vital to the health and safety of the procedure and the person to whom treatment is being administered.

The placement of the implant itself is extremely important. Each implant is placed through a surgical incision in the gum and into a small hole drilled into the jawbone. The sides of the implant are in contact with the nearby jawbone, and because of the wealth of nerve endings and blood vessels in the jaw and gum, choosing the correct location is extremely important to the safety of an implant. Each insertion must be arranged so as not to aggravate any existing structures (like nerves and blood vessels), but must also be in a position which confers strength to the implant and any dentures affixed to it. These considerations are an important part of the planning process and treatment and hugely impact the effectiveness, comfort, and safety of dental implants.

Implant material is also an important consideration. For an implant to be safe, it must be strong enough to withstand the strain and stress of regular use, but it should also be light enough so that it does not weigh down or potentially damage the bone or any of its surrounding structures. Implant material should also be inert, or unreactive, meaning that it shouldn’t trigger an allergic reaction or other adverse event.

As mentioned earlier in this section, the insertion of an implant requires an incision in the gum line and access to the jawbone. This is quite an extensive and invasive procedure, and once the implant has been placed into the jawbone, the area must be left to heal fully before any further work is done. This can take several months, but it is critical to the safety of the procedure as a whole. During this time, the implant begins to fuse with the surrounding jawbone, forming a reliable and lasting structure.

Finally the general hygiene of the mouth into which an implant is being placed, and good patient hygiene while the gum and bone is recovering after an implant has been inserted, are important safety considerations. Poor oral hygiene when a surgical procedure is involved can increase the risk of infection.

How safe are all-on-4 implants?

All-on-4 implants are designed for both effectiveness and safety, and as such they address the key points highlighted in the previous section.

These implants are made out of titanium, a material which has proven extremely safe in a number of different prosthetic applications. Titanium replacement hips and knees have been used for years, and the material is not only lightweight and durable, it also does not cause any adverse reactions with tissues and cells.

All-on-4 implants are named after the fact that only four implants are used per jaw bone as opposed to as many 10 used by other implant technologies. This approach has a number of different advantages from a safety perspective. A smaller number of implants means that fewer holes are drilled into the jawbone, which in turn means that there are fewer potential sites of infection as well as discomfort and pain. More over the fewer implants used, the smaller the risk of damaging or interfering with the many nerves and blood vessels running through the jaw.

Fortunately the use of 4 implants as in the all-on-4 implants confers these benefits without sacrificing the strength and security of the implant and its dentures. 2 of the all-on-4 implants are positioned to the front of the jaw, where the thicker bone means a secure fitting which can safely support an arch of prosthetic teeth. The remaining 2 are positioned further back adding to the structural stability of the whole design, and these final two insertions are angled in a specific manner designed to avoid  significant nerves and arteries towards the back of the jaw.

All-on-4 implants also require a healing period after the implants have been placed through the gum and into the bone beneath. However unlike other dentures, these implants can be fitted after this healing period straightaway. Other implants require a 6 week or so period during which a temporary crown or denture will be fixed. By sparing patients an additional set of procedures, all-on-4s are not only more convenient and comfortable, but have the benefit of reducing the risks of infection and damage inherent to extra procedure.

Ultimately it is up to the dentist involved to assess a patient’s oral hygiene and overall suitability for the use of all-on-4 implants. After the procedure your dentist will give you detailed advice about how to best manage the hygiene and general health of your mouth and implants, and for safety purposes it is important that you follow these instructions.

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