Choosing Between Full Mouth or All-on-4® Dental Implants: Which Is Best for Your Smile?

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If you have lost most or all of your teeth, one question is probably at the forefront of your mind; how best to replace them. The answer depends on how important preserving your jawbone and maintaining a stable bite is to you. 

If you are already comparing All-on-4® to full-mouth individual dental implants, you may already be aware of the lesser-known benefits dental implants provide. 

Mature woman in a dentist's chair, holding an apple.

While the longevity, stability, and appearance of dental implants are easy to appreciate, many people don’t know what is arguably the most important advantage of dental implants.

What Is Jawbone Resorption?

Jawbone resorption is a destructive process that causes bone loss and jaw deterioration. Resorption in the jawbone is caused by a lack of stimulation once provided by healthy tooth roots. 

Tooth loss involves not only the visible portion — or crown — but also the root. When several teeth are missing, the underlying bone loses density and mass, eventually leading to the appearance of a thin, narrow jaw and chin

With less support, lower facial features can also become distorted, causing one’s face to look shrunken and prematurely aged.

What Other Tooth Replacement Options Do You Have?

A number of options exist to address the cosmetic and functional concerns caused by significant tooth loss.

Your tooth replacement options include the following:

  • Bridgework and partials
  • Traditional dentures
  • Implant retained dentures
  • Implant-supported or All-on-4® Dental Implants
  • Full-mouth, individual dental implants  

If you have a few healthy and well-placed teeth remaining, partial dentures and bridgework can be the least expensive option. However, with most of your teeth gone, this tooth replacement method often fails to offer long-lasting stability for confident chewing. Depending on the number of healthy teeth you have, and the reason for your tooth loss, jawbone resorption may progress.

Dentures can also offer a satisfactory cosmetic solution for tooth loss, but their functional benefits lack the stability of a healthy bite. Tooth roots remain missing because dentures only replace the visible portion of teeth. Receiving two implants per arch to help secure your dentures should prevent them from moving too much or falling out, but it leaves almost all of your tooth roots unreplaced and does not slow resorption.

Pros and Cons of Full Mouth Dental Implants

Pros of Full-Mouth Dental Implants

Choosing individual dental implants to replace all or most of your teeth provides a permanent solution with many advantages.

  • Individual full-mouth dental implants look, feel, and function like your own natural healthy teeth.
  • Individual full-mouth dental implants replace the whole tooth with strong titanium posts and beautiful, life-like crowns that resist staining and don’t decay.
  • Individual full-mouth dental implants provide the most stimulation for your jaw to prevent resorption.
  • Individual full-mouth dental implants require no special tools or additional upkeep. Just brush and floss as you would your natural teeth

Even though cavities don’t affect dental implants, bacteria still accumulate on the surfaces of your mouth and between the implants, so they must be brushed and flossed daily.

Cons of Full Mouth Dental Implants

While individual dental implants provide the most stimulation for the jawbone and are considered the best tooth replacement option by many dentists, there are a few drawbacks:

  • Individual full-mouth dental implants are the most expensive full-mouth restoration solution.
  • Individual full-mouth dental implants can take weeks or months to fully heal.
  • Individual full-mouth dental implants may require bone and gum grafting before the procedure, which can involve two separate and significant healing processes and several months to complete.

Pros and Cons of All-on-4®

One case of a patient with All-on-4® dental implants is depicted in four photos: two of the dentures, one of the inserted implants, and the beautiful smile that can be achieved with this tooth replacement method Pros of All-on-4®

A scientific breakthrough, All-on-4® offers these benefits:

  • All-on-4® dental implants involve an advanced placement technique to replace full arches of missing teeth with only four dental implants as opposed to other implant-supported dentures requiring six or more implants and often bone grafting as well. All-on-4® dental implants typically do not require bone grafting due to their strategic placement.
  • All-on-4® dental implants provide considerable bite stability and stimulation for the jawbone to help prevent resorption.
  • All-on-4® dental implants are typically associated with a shorter healing time and faster results.
  • All-on-4® dental implants are more affordable than individual dental implants.

Cons of All-on-4®

All-on-4® dental implants are a more economical way to replace full arches of teeth, but they include some disadvantages as well:

  • All-on-4® dental implants are attached to dentures rather than individual crowns, so they cannot match the realistic appearance of individual implants.
  • All-on-4® dental implants offer a much-improved bite compared to other tooth replacement options but don’t match the natural feeling and function of individual implants.
  • All-on-4® dental implants require special dental tools to clean under the gums because while they can be brushed, they cannot be flossed.

These tooth replacement options offer unique advantages, and your decision should be based on your specific needs and circumstances. 

If individual dental implants seem out of your price range right now, choosing All-on-4® doesn’t mean you can’t switch to individual implants later, and you will already have at least four inserted.

Full-Mouth, Individual Dental Implants & All-on-4® in Chicago, IL 

Chicago Dental Arts provides the meticulous placement of individual and All-on-4® for our patients in Chicago, Skokie, and beyond. Call us today at (312) 642-6631.

Contact Us

Chicago Office

919 Michigan Ave
Floor 3
Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 642-6631

Skokie Office

4905 Old Orchard Center
Suite 420
Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 676-0484