Dental implants can do more than just replace a single tooth. When multiple implants are placed at the same time, this can form a solid anchor for an entire arch restoration. This procedure is sometimes referred to as All-On‑4, implant retained dentures, or a fixed denture.
With a traditional denture, the baseplate is designed to fit the contour of your gums. This will then be held in place by suction between the roof of your mouth and the plate, or denture adhesive. When dentures sit on the gums, the force or your bite is absorbed by the soft gum tissue, which can make it difficult to eat certain foods.
With dental implants, the denture is supported by implants placed in the jaw bone. These mimic the role of a tooth root, which means the force of your bite is absorbed by the jawbone. The implants fuse directly with the jawbone, becoming part of the structure. This means your dentures will be firmly fixed in place without the risk of them slipping, falling out, or rubbing on your gums.
How many implants are needed for a full denture?
The number of implants needed for a full denture will be decided by a number of factors.
1. The density of your jawbone: If you have been missing teeth for a long time, your jaw bone may have shrunk in the meantime. If you have low bone density, you will need more dental implants to create a solid anchor. This would usually require 6 dental implants, or you could opt for bone grafting. Longer zygomatic implants could also be an option worth exploring.
2. The arch to be replaced: The lower jaw is typically much denser than the upper jaw, so this will influence how many implants you need. In some cases, you could have an entire lower jaw restoration with just two implants. A minimum of four would be required on the upper arch, as this is typically less dense.
3. The shape of your mouth: The shape of your jaw will influence how many implants are needed. Some could require as many as six to support a denture, while others might only need four. You will learn more about how many implants you might need during your initial consultation.
4. The location of your sinuses: When teeth are removed from your upper jaw, the sinuses can drop into the space once occupied by the teeth. If this happens, you may need a sinus lift before you can go ahead with implant treatment. This will likely also impact the number and placement of your dental implants.
How many implants can you have at once?
Your dentist will always place the minimum number of dental implants required to achieve the restoration, but this could be between 4-6 per arch. This may be split over multiple surgeries, as the procedure would be very long otherwise.
Do more implants mean a longer healing time?
Yes, you can expect the healing time to be slightly longer with multiple implants, simply because of the toll this takes on your body. The individual surgical sites may heal at different rates.
Aftercare is essential following surgery to ensure that the implant site heals correctly. We will give you comprehensive aftercare advice to help you care for the surgical sites at home following the procedure.
In terms of the time it takes for the implant to fuse with the bone, this can also be different for different implant sites. This means we have to wait for all sites to be ready before we can place the final restoration.
How many teeth can be placed on a single implant?
A single implant would typically only be used to support a single crown. If you are looking to replace multiple teeth, but not quite a full arch restoration, a dental implant bridge might be more suited. With a dental implant bridge, we use two dental implants to create the anchor teeth and these support a pontic in the middle.
This is similar to a traditional bridge procedure, but we use implant crowns instead of your natural teeth. You can typically have three teeth on a pontic, so you could replace a total of five teeth (two implants crowns and three pontic teeth) using two implants as support.
Are full mouth implants worth it?
If you are looking for a permanent replacement for missing teeth and don’t want to wear a removable denture, full mouth implants are certainly worth it. Once placed, the implants should last a lifetime, and only the denture may need to be replaced or fixed. This makes it a highly cost-effective treatment over the full lifetime of the restoration.
If you’re curious about how dental implants could transform your life, get in touch with our team today to book your FREE consultation.