When people need a lot of teeth replaced, dentures may be the least expensive option. However, many people would prefer a more natural-looking alternative that functions more like real teeth. One alternative way to do a total mouth reconstruction is to use implant-supported bridges. There are a few alternatives available with this procedure, with each arch being supported by anywhere from four to eight implants.
Cost of the Treatment
The least expensive version of this treatment is called the All-on-4 model and involves the entire arch being supported by just four implants rather than the typical eight implants with a bridge used for full arch replacement. This procedure is still considerably more expensive than dentures, however, and less likely to be covered by dental insurance.
Feel of the Bridge
When a full arch replacement is supported by just four implants, it needs to be wider and thicker than the original teeth were and will involve the person feeling their real gums, then the soft part of the bridge, and then the replacement teeth. This can feel very odd and take some getting used to. It also may require some healthy bone and tissue to be removed. Using more implants to support the bridge can make it possible to have thinner bridges that feel more natural.
The thickness of an All-on-4 bridge can impair speech, making people slur their words a bit and have difficulty pronouncing the letters “D”, “N”, and “T.” People can retrain themselves to speak more normally, but they should be aware of this before getting this type of bridge. Also, people will not be able to sense how strongly they are biting down and could end up chewing less efficiently and accidentally damaging their implants and bridges by chewing with too much force.
People who have issues such as grinding their teeth may not be good candidates for this procedure, as the bridges will not be as strong and are more likely to be damaged by this type of habit. Saving more of the natural teeth, if possible, and having smaller bridges may be a better alternative if the person is strongly opposed to getting dentures.
Taking the above things into consideration will make it more likely that you’ll be happy with your decision of which type of dental restoration to get. You wouldn’t want to spend money on implants and then be unhappy with the results.