All-on-4 Compared To Implant Bridges: Which Is Better For You?

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT
young old couple hugging and smiling together

Both of these options are very good alternatives when it's necessary to replace missing teeth. Both procedures rely on dental implants, and there's no question that implants are superior to other options like partial dentures, full dentures, and fixed bridges. You just can't beat the kind of rock-solid anchoring provided by dental implants. At Legacy Dental of Salt Lake City in Utah, we offer both solutions to patients, so you'll be able to make the choice that's best for your circumstances. Our dental practitioners are equally adept at both installation procedures, so whichever process you choose will be well supported. In our comparison of the two, let's begin by describing what's involved with each.

Implant bridges

Implant bridges are very much like a traditional dental bridge, except for the fact that it receives no support from nearby teeth. Instead, the support all comes from two implants that get installed to provide a foundation for the implant bridge. This model allows for the possibility of replacing several teeth at once, as opposed to conventional bridges, which cannot be used to fill in gaps consisting of two teeth or more.

Implant bridges require the use of one implant at both sides of the restoration. That puts them on either side of the open space where your bite would normally fall. That means it's replacing all the teeth between the implants, in addition to the ones where the implants themselves are installed. In most cases, implant bridges will be tasked to replace anywhere between three and four teeth in a given row. In some situations, additional dental implants might be necessary for the same prosthesis, if an even larger gap of missing teeth is present.

All-on-4 implants

It would be reasonable to think of all-on-4 implant systems as a full arch dental bridge. It isn't actually a bridge though, because it fills in the space immediately adjacent to teeth and gum tissue. Is also not like a denture, because it typically follows the u-shaped curve which is naturally present in your jaw. All-on-4 implants can be thought of as a hybrid between a full denture and a fixed bridge, and they are used to replace all the teeth in an upper or lower jaw.

The full arch restoration is usually attached to just four dental implants, although in some cases it's necessary to use six implants. You might not think that four implants are enough to anchor an entire arch of teeth to them, but keep in mind that implants are extremely strong, stronger than your natural teeth. That's why they have the capability of supporting an entire arch of teeth, assuming that they are properly installed. In the end, all-on-4 implants will provide the foundation for a fully functional set of replacement teeth that look and perform very naturally.

What makes implant bridges a good choice?

In a situation where you're not missing all of the teeth on an upper or lower jaw, an implant bridge may be your best solution. You'll probably still have some teeth which are perfectly healthy and capable of providing years more of serviceable use. You would not want to extract those healthy teeth just so you can install a full arch prosthesis. This is when an implant bridge might be a better choice.

When you're missing several teeth in a row, it's even possible to obtain an economy of implants. Given that implants are capable of supporting more weight than ordinary teeth are, it can be a good choice to simply install a couple implants to support a fixed bridge. In this way, you can replace three missing teeth with just two implants, and a dental bridge consisting of three units and if you want to improve your smile more you can seek to the cosmetic dentist. In most cases, whenever you have just one or two teeth missing, you would be obliged to have an individual implant and crown for both of them.

When all-on-4 implants are a better choice

All-on-4 implants are the best choice when you're missing an entire upper or lower arch of teeth. This is true even if there are only one or two serviceable teeth left on the upper or lower jaw. In this case, you might be better off to simply extract them in order to enjoy the benefits of all-on-4 implants. Typically, these types of implants would be required to replace 14 teeth on an upper or lower jaw. Depending on how robust your jaw bone is in specific locations, implants would be installed to support all 14 of the missing teeth.

If your jaw bone has undergone recession or bone loss, it might be necessary to install six implants rather than four. This is a workable situation, because the two rear implants would be angled between 30 and 45 degrees in order to provide the extra support needed for all the missing teeth. All-on-4 implants will generally be chosen when a patient is missing all the teeth on an upper or lower jaw, or when all teeth are missing and both upper and lower arches have to be replaced. 

Consult with Legacy Dental

If you have some missing teeth on your upper or lower jaw bone, you should consult with Legacy Dental about your best alternative. Our knowledgeable specialists will thoroughly examine your mouth to determine what you might be a good candidate for. Then we'll discuss with you which options might be available and what your goals and objectives are for replacing missing teeth.

You can count on having all your questions answered about either procedure, and you always be fully informed about what's involved. After we've explained the advantages and disadvantages of all options, you can make the final decision on which approach is used. Contact us today, so that we can arrange for an initial consultation, and get the process moving toward replacing your teeth. When your teeth have been replaced and your smile restored, you'll have a new lease on life, with much greater self-confidence and reliance on your new set of teeth.

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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