Introducing All-on-4 implants
The All-on-4 full arch restoration is one of four options that patients have for tooth replacement of either the entire upper or lower jaw. It involves the attachment of a ‘hybrid’ or ‘fixed-detachable’ prosthesis (one which is semi-permanent and can be removed only by the implant dentist) to four implants that serve as ‘anchors’ along the arch. Similar alternatives to this system are All-on-6 and All-on-8, which rely on support from six and eight implants, respectively, rather than the four implants of All-on-4. These options all allow for a more efficient implant system that permits an entire arch’s teeth to be replaced without having to replace each tooth individually.
The difference between the three ‘All-on’ implant systems
While the All-on-6 and All-on-8 options can provide more stability and bone stimulation due to more support points along the arch, healthy and substantial jaw bones benefit best from the All-on-4, which is by nature of requiring less implants, less invasive. What’s more, recent dental technology has yielded highly improved results with the All-on-4 implants, discovering that setting the implants at 45-degree angle drastically heightens the strength of the system.
Proper care of your All-on-4 dental implants
Defining a daily oral hygiene regimen that keeps your All-on-4 implants clean is crucial to the longevity of your implants, as well as your health. The necessary multi-step process of daily cleaning merits discussion, as improper care can lead to a variety of health issues such as periodontal disease, heart disease and gum infection. With concern to time, there is quite a larger investment in oral hygiene once a patient has an All-on-4 implant system compared to standard oral care, but this time is indispensable to maintain patient health.
Dental prostheses should be brushed just as with regular teeth: twice a day with a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush for a minimum of two minutes. Brushing should be carried out in a circular motion. A sulcus brush, which is about ⅓ the size of a regular toothbrush, should be used to clean the portion of the bridge that meets the soft tissue, as well as massage and clean the tissue contact areas of the bridge. There are a variety of brushes available for purchase that are specially designed for oral hygiene for implants, including angled head brushes and gentle interdental brushes.
To remove any food particles from the areas around the implant, it is important to floss under the bridge at least once a day, but preferably after every meal. Lodged food in these areas can quickly lead to inflamed tissue and fungal infections. Most flosses are acceptable to perform this function, although many patients do favor the firmer and curved bridge threaders.
Using a Waterpik
Waterpiks are another important tool recommended by implant dentists to remove retained food from the spaces around the implant where floss can’t reach. Waterpiking should be done twice a day along with brushing, paying special attention to the areas around the bridge and gum line where food can become lodged most easily. Keeping the setting at low or medium is adequate; the high setting can be too aggressive and cause tissue damage.
Using a daily mouthwash can further assist in the removal of food debris from the small spaces around the bridge and gum line meeting points, as well as underneath the bridge.
Regular Dental Visits
Professional cleanings are incredibly important to the health of your restoration. Healthy patients with no concerns regarding their restoration should be seen twice a year. Patients that experience complications should be seen more often, as seen fit by the treating dentist.
Remember next time you brush….
Maintaining proper oral health is fundamental for everyone, and those with All-on-4 dental implants are particularly susceptible to complications, making the importance of an effective cleaning regimen something not to be put by the wayside.