All-On-4 Dental Implants vs Implant-Supported Dentures: The Ultimate Comparison

In this blog post, we’ll compare two popular options: All-on-4 dental implants and implant-supported dentures.

DaVinci Smiles Dental Implants in Perth

All-On-4 Dental Implants vs Implant-Supported Dentures: The Ultimate Comparison

Dental implant technology has come a long way over the past few years, offering patients more options than ever when replacing missing teeth. If you’re among the millions of people who have lost their teeth due to injury, disease, or other causes, you may be considering dental implants. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is right for you?

In this blog post, we’ll compare two popular options: All-on-4 dental implants and implant-supported dentures. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each treatment, look at the cost differences, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

So, whether you’re dealing with a few missing teeth or extensive tooth loss, read on to learn more about these cutting-edge dental solutions.

  • All-on-4 is a dental implant system that uses four implants per arch to support a full set of prosthetic teeth.

  • Implant-supported dentures combine the benefits of traditional implants and traditional dentures.

  • Both All-on-4 dental implants and implant-supported dentures require regular maintenance and cleaning.

  • All-on-4 dental implants provide cost-effectiveness, eliminate the need for bone grafting, and sometimes require fewer implants than implant-supported dentures.

  • Implant-supported dentures offer lower upfront costs, greater stability, and flexibility.

  • Risks associated with both dental procedures include infection, nerve damage, bone loss, and implant failure.

  • All-on-4 dental implants have a 98.1% success rate at five years and a 94.8% success rate at ten years; implant-supported dentures have an approximate lifespan of 10-15 years with a 95% success rate.

  • Factors to consider when choosing between All-on-4 or implant-supported dentures include oral health status, bone density, number of missing teeth, budget, and maintenance/care requirements.

Understanding All-on-4 Dental Implants

The All-on-4 dental implant system is a revolutionary technique ideal for people who have lost most, if not all, of their natural teeth or those who are not satisfied with their dentures.

The All-on-4 system is a type of dental implant designed to support a full arch of teeth. In traditional dental implant procedures, a single implant is placed per missing tooth. However, with the All-on-4 system, a full arch of teeth can be replaced using only four implants. The two implants at the back of the mouth are placed at an angle to provide the necessary support, while the two front implants are placed vertically.

The procedure for getting All-on-4 dental implants starts with an initial consultation with an implant dentist. During the consultation, the dentist will perform a comprehensive examination to assess the patient’s oral health, jaw bone density, and any existing dental problems. Once the assessment is complete, the dentist will create a customised treatment plan that includes the placement of the four dental implants.

After the implants are placed, the patient will be fitted with a temporary prosthesis while the implants heal and fuse with the jaw bone. The final step in the process is the attachment of a final prosthesis, which is custom-designed to match the patient’s real teeth in terms of size, shape, and colour.

Understanding Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are an advanced dental technology that combines the benefits of dental implants and dentures. The denture is anchored in place using 6-8 dental implants, and they are attached to them with special connectors or abutments, creating a stable and secure fit superior to traditional removable dentures.

There are two main types of implant-supported dentures: bar-retained and ball-retained. Bar-retained dentures use a thin metal bar that is attached to the implants and the denture clips onto the bar. Ball-retained dentures, on the other hand, use a ball-and-socket mechanism to attach the denture to the implant.

Implant-supported dentures offer several advantages over traditional dentures. Because they are anchored to the jawbone, they are more stable and secure, reducing the risk of slippage or discomfort. They also provide better chewing and speaking ability, as they do not move around in the mouth. Additionally, implant-supported dentures help to prevent bone loss in the jaw, which can occur when teeth are missing.

Differences Between All-on-4 and Implant-Supported Dentures

All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures are two common dental solutions used to replace missing teeth. Although they share similarities, they also have notable differences.

Here are the key differences between All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures in terms of cost, procedure, durability, and maintenance.

  • Cost
    All-on-4 is generally considered a more cost-effective dental restoration option than implant-supported dentures. This is because the All-on-4 procedure uses only four implants to support a full arch of teeth, while implant-supported dentures use six or more implants which can increase the cost.

    However, the total cost could still vary depending on the type of material used for the denture and the location of the dental clinic.

  • Procedure
    The procedure for All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures also differ. All-on-4 treatment involves placing four implants in the jawbone and attaching a temporary denture to the newly-placed implants. This procedure is generally quicker and less invasive than implant-supported dentures, which involve placing multiple implants in the jaw and allowing them to fuse with the bone before attaching the denture.

  • Durability
    In terms of durability, All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures are long-lasting solutions for missing teeth. However, All-on-4 is considered to have a slightly higher success rate due to the fewer number of implants used.

    Implant-supported dentures are more customisable. This means that they can be designed to fit the unique shape of the jawbone and provide better support for the denture.

  • Maintenance
    Both All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures require regular maintenance and cleaning, just like natural teeth. However, the process for cleaning and maintaining them differs.

    All-on-4 requires daily brushing and flossing, while implant-supported dentures require a more in-depth cleaning routine, including removing the denture to clean the implants.

In summary, All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures have their unique advantages and disadvantages. The decision on which solution to choose ultimately depends on the person’s specific needs, budget, and lifestyle. A consultation with a dental professional can help determine the right option for each patient.

Aftercare and Maintenance

After undergoing the All-on-4 or implant-supported denture procedure, following a strict post-operative care routine is important for the success and longevity of your new teeth. Here are some post-operative care instructions that you should strictly follow:

  1. Take prescribed medication:
    Your implant dentist will prescribe painkillers and antibiotics to help you manage pain and prevent infections. Be sure to take the medication as prescribed.

  2. Rest and avoid strenuous activities:
    Avoid any strenuous activities for a few days following surgery to help your body recover.

  3. Apply ice packs:
    Place ice packs on your cheeks to help reduce swelling and pain.

  4. Maintain a soft-food diet:
    To prevent straining your healing gums, stick to soft foods for the first few days following the surgical procedure. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that require excessive chewing.

  5. Maintain good oral hygiene:
    It is vital to keep your mouth clean. Brush and floss your teeth regularly, but be gentle around the implant sites to avoid irritating the gum tissue. Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash to kill bacteria and reduce the risk of gum disease.

In addition to the above tips, there are other ways to prolong the lifespan of your dental implants:

  1. Brush your teeth regularly:
    Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. This helps prevent plaque buildup, which can lead to gum disease and implant failure.

  2. Floss daily:
    Flossing helps remove bacteria and food particles between your teeth and around the implants.

  3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption:
    Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can affect the success of dental implant surgery.

  4. Eat a healthy diet:
    A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus can help strengthen bone density and promote successful dental implant integration.

  5. Regular dental check-ups:
    Regular check-ups with your dentist will help detect problems early on and prevent complications or damage to the implants.

Following these post-operative care and maintenance instructions can help make your dental implants last for many years. They can give you a beautiful, healthy-looking smile and improve your quality of life.

The Cost of All-on-4 vs. Implant-Supported Dentures

All-on-4 is a more expensive option than implant-supported dentures.

The cost of implant-supported dentures generally ranges from $15,000 to $18,000 per arch. This usually includes the cost of the implants, the surgical placement of the implants, and the fabrication of a full arch of replacement teeth.

All-on-4 procedures can range from $23,000 to $27,000 per fixed arch. This also includes the cost of implants and the dental prosthesis that fits over the implants.

The cost of All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures are affected by several variables, such as:

  • The type and quality of the material used
  • The number of implants required
  • The geographic location of the dentist
  • The need for additional procedures

It is essential to note that although All-on-4 may cost more initially, it can provide long-term benefits due to its fixed and durable nature. This can reduce the need for future dental work.

Additionally, implant-supported dentures may require regular maintenance and adjustments, which can add to their long-term costs.

Advantages of All-on-4 over Implant-Supported Dentures

There are several All-on-4 dental implant advantages over implant-supported dentures. These include the following:

  • Cost-effectiveness:
    All-on-4 is more cost-effective than implant-supported dentures in the long run. This is because All-on-4 does not require additional procedures such as bone grafting, sinus lift, or ridge augmentation, which can all add to costs.

  • Eliminates the need for bone grafting:
    In cases where there is insufficient bone available, a bone graft may be required before the placement of traditional dental implants. This can be an expensive, time-consuming, and painful process. With All-on-4, the back implants are placed at an angle, allowing maximum use of available bone, thereby eliminating the need for bone grafting.

  • The number of implants needed:
    All-on-4 technique utilises only four implants to support a full set of teeth. This is markedly different from implant-supported dentures, which usually require six or more implants per arch. Lesser number of implants means quicker recovery times.

Compared to implant-supported dentures, All-on-4 implants provide a less expensive, less time-consuming option that requires fewer implants and eliminates the need for bone grafting. These All-on-4 dental implant advantages make this treatment an increasingly popular option for patients considering dental implant solutions.

Advantages of Implant-Supported Dentures over All-on-4

While All-on-4 dental implants have been an effective option for many years, there are many implant-supported dentures benefits that make it an attractive option. The advantages of choosing implant-supported dentures include

  • Stability:
    Implant-supported dentures may offer more stability and security than All-on-4 implants. Implant-supported dentures may require six or more implants, which translates to a more secure and stable base for the dentures.

  • Flexibility:
    Implant-supported dentures offer more flexibility in terms of how they can be customised to fit a patient’s needs. Due to the varying levels of bone loss and jaw structure from patient to patient, implant-supported dentures can be tailored to each individual for a more comfortable fit and better overall performance.

Overall, while All-on-4 may seem like a more convenient and cost-effective option initially, implant-supported dentures’ benefits are long-term in terms of stability and flexibility. Consulting with a dentist can help determine which option is ideal for a patient.

Risks and Complications of All-on-4 and Implant-Supported Dentures

While All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures are generally safe procedures, there are some risks and potential complications to be aware of. Discussing these issues with your dentist before undergoing any dental surgery is important.

  • Infection
    Infection is a possible complication with any dental surgery, including All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures. Signs of infection include swelling, redness, and pain. To reduce the risk of infection, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics before and after the surgery.

  • Nerve Damage
    Nerve damage can occur if dental implants are placed too close to a nerve. This can cause numbness, tingling, or pain in the affected area. Your dentist will take great care to avoid placing implants too close to nerves.

  • Bone Loss
    Long-term use of dentures can cause bone loss in your jaw. This can make it difficult to fit dentures properly or to get dental implants in the future. Your dentist will monitor your jawbone density over time and may recommend additional treatments to prevent bone loss.

  • Implant Failure
    While the success rate of dental implants is generally high, there is a risk of implant failure. Factors contributing to implant failure include smoking, poor oral and dental hygiene, and bone loss. Your dentist will monitor your implants regularly to check that they are functioning properly.

To mitigate these risks, choosing an experienced dental professional trained in implant dentistry is important. Follow all post-surgery instructions carefully, including taking antibiotics as prescribed and keeping the surgical site clean. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as daily brushing and flossing, can also help prevent complications.

Long-Term Outcomes of All-on-4 and Implant-Supported Dentures

According to studies, All-on-4 implants have a success rate of 98.1% at five years and 94.8% at ten years. However, it’s important to note that factors such as oral hygiene and lifestyle choices can affect the success rate. Smokers have a higher implant failure rate than non-smokers. Furthermore, maintaining proper oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing can help prolong the lifespan of dental implants.

Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, have a success rate of around 95%, with an approximate lifespan of 10-15 years. Factors such as the patient’s age and the health of their jawbone can affect the longevity of implant-supported dentures.

How to Choose Which Is the Right One for You?

Choosing between All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures can be a difficult decision. The following factors should be taken into account:

  1. Your Oral Health Status:
    Before deciding which teeth replacement alternative to choose, it is crucial to consider the state of your oral health. Both options require a healthy foundation for the dental implant to succeed. Any oral health issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay, must be addressed before proceeding with All-on-4 or implant-supported denture treatment.

  2. Bone Density:
    Another important factor to consider is the density of your jawbone. Implant-supported dentures require sufficient bone density to provide support for the implants. If your jawbone is too thin, bone grafting may be necessary. All-on-4, on the other hand, can be placed in areas where bone density is lower.

  3. The Number of Missing Teeth:
    All-on-4 is a better teeth replacement alternative for people with a significant number of missing teeth. This approach uses only four implants to support a full arch of the dental prosthesis. Implant-supported dentures are suitable for people with many missing teeth but still have enough healthy teeth to support the denture.

  4. Budget:
    Both All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures can be expensive treatments. It is important to consider your budget when making a decision. All-on-4 is more expensive than implant-supported dentures due to the strategic use of implants and advanced surgical techniques.

  5. Maintenance and Care:
    Maintenance and care are crucial factors to consider when choosing between All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures. Both require regular oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing. Implant-supported dentures may require more maintenance and care due to the complexity of the treatment and the use of more implants.

Choosing between All-on-4 and implant-supported dentures requires a thorough consideration of several factors.

Final Thoughts

After a detailed comparison of All-on-4 dental implants and implant-supported dentures, it is safe to say that modern dentistry has certainly come a long way. Both treatment options offer significant benefits to patients.

Ultimately, the choice between All-on-4 dental implants and implant-supported dentures will depend on various factors, including the patient’s oral and dental health status, personal preferences, and overall budget. Your dentist can help you make an informed decision and guide you toward the teeth replacement alternative suited to your unique needs and goals.

At DaVinci Smiles, we take pride in helping people achieve healthy smiles they feel great about. So if you are ready for a smile transformation, book an appointment through our website or call us today! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dr. Tony Strangio


Dr. Tony Strangio

Dr. Tony graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1993 with a Bachelor of Dental Science. He has dedicated his professional life to providing quality dental treatments for his patients. His initial involvement in implant dentistry begins at the Branemark Centre in Western Australia. Then, he completed his master’s in Oral Implantology in 2013.

Get To Know Dr. Tony

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