If you are missing multiple teeth in your upper or lower jaw, your dentist might recommend all-on-4 implants. Instead of replacing every single tooth with an implant, all-on-4s only use four implants to secure an entire denture appliance. All-on-4 implants can be beneficial for some patients who have weak jawbones that cannot support multiple implants. They can also be more cost-effective than multiple single-tooth implants if you need to replace the entire arch. 

Along with all-on-4 implants, your dentist might also recommend all-on-2s or all-on-6 implants. Take a look at the differences to see which restorative option might be best for your situation.

What's the Difference Among All-on-4, All-on-2, and All-on-6?

While all-on-4 dentures are supported by four implants, all-on-2 and all-on-6 are supported by two and six implants respectively. Although the number of implants changes, the goal of all of these restorations is the same: to give dentures firm support. Traditional dentures are more likely to rock because they are only held in place by denture adhesive and suction on the palate. All-on-4s, all-on-2s, and all-on-6s have abutment-based attachments, such as magnets or balls, that snap onto the denture and hold it securely in place.

Is One Implant Route Better Than Another?

Some patients may think that all-on-6 implants would be the way to go since six implants would offer more support than say all-on-4s or all-on-2s. However, some people simply do not have enough bone strength to withstand the additional pressure of additional implants—even with bone grafts.

Also, with natural teeth, the body is better able to detect the strength of biting forces because of signals from tooth roots. With implants, you don't get those signals; if a person has irregular chewing cycles—such as bruxism—he or she could damage multiple implants from applying too much bite force.

In short, all-on-4 and all-on-2 implants may be better for people with an atrophic jawbone, since your dentist can strategically angle the implants at the strongest points in the arch. There is less space along the arch to adjust implant positions with six implants. All-on-4s can be a happy medium between the stability of all-on-6s, and dentists have the flexibility to angle implants like all-on-2s. One study found that all-on-4s can have high success rates in completely edentulous patients, or those who are missing all of their teeth in an arch. Another study found that two implants and four implants were sufficient for supporting dentures—although patients in the study tended to prefer four implants over two. If a person does have stronger bone tissue, then he or she may opt for all-on-6 since each additional implant provides stability for the denture.  

Reach out to a dental clinic like Total Dentistry today to learn more about dental implant options.