The questions to ask when considering treatment – and not just cost!
All on Four dental treatment is fast gaining momentum amongst the general Australian public, due to an onslaught of advertising by many clinics in online, print and radio advertising. Whilst it is being portrayed as a simple, easy and effective way for patients to have comfortable, fixed teeth with a minimum of downtime – there are a whole host of important considerations that you need to pay attention to when choosing to have this treatment. Keep in mind; this is an invasive medical procedure, and definitely not a decision that should be based purely on cost!
From our experience in treating many patients with All On Four implant treatment, these are some of the points that we feel are most critical in delivering a world-class, quality result:
Implant surgery is a finely honed clinical skill, which sadly, does not require any specialist or registered training. This means that all Dentists can theoretically place implants; however, the level of training, experience and knowledge is variable. Hence, pay attention to the credentials of your implant surgeon, and be sure to inquire as to their years of surgical experience. Best of all – ask them to show you clinical cases with outcomes. These shouldn’t come from their website – but their own on-site records.
Most ideally, your All on 4 dentist will be able to restore the implants with your replacement teeth – as a combined restorative/surgical approach and planning typically provides the most ideal results. A surgeon who places implants, without consideration of the final tooth position, could potentially compromise your final aesthetic and functional result.
The biggest cost differential for practices offering this treatment will be the type and quality of implants and laboratory support they use. There are hundreds of dental implant manufacturers in the world, but only a small handful of world leaders in both historical success and clinical and long-term research data. It is important that a high quality long-term successful dental implant is used, to ensure success and that maintenance needs are met predictably.
Imagine having this treatment, only to find that in 5 – 10 years you require some form of maintenance and the implant system is barely recognised and used! Your dentist is left scratching their head wondering how they are going to find the means to help! This is an increasingly common scenario with those patients heading overseas for dental implants in countries like Thailand and India. There are a number of ‘moving parts’ – and the ability to resolve any needs with ease is critical. Just remember – what seems the ‘cheapest’ to you know will end up being the most expensive in the end.
Secondly, the methods and techniques to build the replacement teeth or All-On-Four bridge are very important. Be sure to ask what your replacement teeth are built of and whether any warranty is offered with the treatment. Lower cost implant practices will typically simplify the construction of the replacement teeth to a simple off the shelf acrylic ‘denture type’ set up, with a basic thin wire re-enforcement. In some instances, they even convert the denture that the patient has been wearing.
This is typically in the case of those implant treatments that are done in the one appointment or ‘same day’. This can be quite unstable and fracture/break easily, as well as being quite bulky leading to cleaning difficulties – and patients that have paid less for treatment, find that in the end, it costs more with ongoing maintenance/repair needs.
We choose to complete our treatment over a two day period, using an accredited Sydney dental laboratory and the replacement teeth are custom build with a high-quality cast or milled chrome framework. We add the important extra step of a ‘try in’ of your All on Four teeth, to make sure we have the most ideal shape, shade and arrangement to your replacement teeth – and that they are truly ‘you’. Our bridges also come with a warranty for those whole follow our maintenance protocols.
Beware Free Consultations
We value our care and attention to detail and hope that our patients do to. You wouldn’t choose a heart surgeon based on his consult being free, and so complex and invasive dental procedures shouldn’t be any less important. This means that we don’t offer free consultations, as we believe that a quick, simple assessment is not appropriate for this type of treatment. Instead, we like to ensure the health and status of your whole mouth is reviewed, and your All On Four treatment is the most appropriate treatment option in your particular case.
If you have a denture in one arch only, then the opposing teeth are important in your future bridge design and treatment. We don’t want to compromise your implant treatment in any way, and in some instances, simple treatment of remaining teeth may be needed to ensure longevity and reduce any post-treatment complications. Be aware of those that appear ‘gung-ho’ in booking you straight in without a thorough assessment of your whole mouth and treatment needs now and into the future.
There is no doubt that the All On Four dental implant treatment option is life-changing for those struggling with painful, embarrassing removable dentures, or a debilitated dentition with missing, loose or painful teeth. However, this treatment can still have potential pitfalls if the right surgeon and practice are not chosen. It pays to research carefully, and to ensure that the cost is not the only determining factor in your decision.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten
The Dr Dunn difference
Dr Dunn is a specialist in implant dentistry, having transformed multiple patients through the All on 4 treatment. See some of the transformations on our All on 4 treatment gallery. Make an appointment for a consult with Dr Dunn - your dental care specialist in Sydney on 02 9247 1394.
All on 4 Patient Guide
To help you in your All on 4 journey we have written an extensive 51 page All on 4 patient guide that you can download here.