Anybody who is missing a tooth has likely researched implants as a possible solution, and those who are missing multiple teeth may have come across the terms “All On 4” or “All on 6”. Both options are designed with the same goal in mind, but there are some noteworthy differences to consider, for both the dentist and client, when making a decision. What do they mean? How does the procedure work? Which one should you choose? We’ll explore these questions and shed some light on the alternatives within the treatment.
Let’s first examine the similarities. The procedures are both useful for replacing multiple teeth and involve surgery to fix dental implants in the jawbone. And both procedures provide the option of titanium or ceramic dental implants. The purpose of this is to support dentures, which may be permanent or removable, and to prevent loss of structure in the jaw.
In either instance, a patient is likely to be put under general anesthetic, which is ideal for the majority of people who suffer from dental anxiety, and the procedure usually lasts between two and three hours. Having this done in one session is possible and preferable. With both options, the implants harmonize with the jaw, creating a similar pressure to natural teeth.
The big difference between the two and the reason for the number four and six in their respective names is the number of roots that are inserted into the jaw. Let’s imagine a patient decides to get a full set of replacement teeth. Rather than needing an implant for every single tooth, they can receive just four or six instead while still connecting all the teeth. The result is that jaw grafting probably won’t be necessary, and recovery time is significantly reduced, by about three months. The dental surgeon can install temporary dentures while a patient waits for the permanent, which can be titanium or ceramic dental implants.
Many dentists do prefer All on Six because of the more even distribution it offers. Chewing puts pressure on the jaw and distributing the stress across more points, lessens the load. There is also the increased stability and the added strength from two additional dental implants. This is because, without teeth, our jaws begin to break down. You may have noticed a wearer of dentures looking sunken and aged when removing them. This doesn’t happen with implants because the jawbone is stimulated just as it would be from natural teeth.
The consensus is that neither solution is bad or wrong, and a decision may depend on where the missing teeth are situated, the health of remaining teeth and a client’s personal preference. Both procedures are an excellent solution for tooth loss and involve minimal recovery time. Being willing to learn and knowing all of the available options is the first step to a good decision, and it’s always acceptable to ask why and get a second opinion. Discussing your needs with a skilled and experienced professional and possibly undergoing some tests should lead to the best solution and it won’t be long before a patient forgets they are wearing implants and can return to a healthy lifestyle.