Why would you bother going to Thailand to do some dental work? The reasons are many, and foremost among them is the fact that due to international exchange rates and Thailand’s medical tourism program incentives, going to the Land of Smiles to get dental work done is in many ways cheaper than paying for it out of pocket. You can have bigger discounts or all-paid dental work locally via insurance, but that’s without the chance to visit the sights and sounds of beautiful Thailand – the Pearl of the Orient and the Southeastern Pacific.
With that in mind, did you know that there exists a dental technique that replaces whole arches or rows of teeth in one operation? If you’ve lost most or all of your teeth from old age or bad dental habits, you can depend on the all-on-4 dental implant technique to have your back (and your gums).
Why Should You Avail of Implants?
Tooth loss is quite common among adults and senior citizens. Most people don’t discuss this condition due to embarrassment, but you can’t change the facts by hiding it. Over 35 million American adults have missing upper or lower teeth, typically the molars since those are the easiest to hide whenever you smile. Others have missing or imperfect front teeth because they can’t afford crowns, veneers, false teeth, or a full-blown dental implant procedure to deal with them.
Only a handful of people follow the advice of their dentist when it comes to taking care of their teeth or avoiding excessive consumption of sweets, which then results in the following:
- Loose teeth
- Broken teeth
- Missing teeth
- Inflamed tooth roots
- Dead and crumbling teeth
- Other conditions that result in tooth extraction
You can save your remaining teeth through deep cleaning, prophylaxis, daily dental hygiene habits, and other preventive methods. However, what should you do if you’ve already lost the teeth themselves? Is it too late for you to handle it? No, you can avail of restorative and cosmetic dentistry to address such an issue, typically in the form of implant procedures such as all-on-4.
Implant dentistry might be your best bet in avoiding lack of teeth and gummy smiles. Of course, if it’s too expensive for you, you might have to opt for dentures you can put away in a glass of water.
All-on-4: A Full Arch of Teeth
The all-on-four or all-on-4 dental prosthodontic procedure is also available as all-on-6 or all-on-8 dental implants with the teeth divided between different sections or bridges. This amazing technique can quickly transform your life and the way you smile. You can benefit from getting all-on-4 implants in the following ways:
- Restores your full arch of teeth
- Shorter installation times than other implants
- Decreases your need for a bone graft on your jaw
- Prevents bone loss or mitigates existing bone loss
In order to appreciate this implant technique for teeth replacement, you should first know what a dental implant is. To wit:
- Dental Implants 101: Essentially, a dental implant drills a screw or post right into the jawbone in order to insert a crown or false tooth bridge over it. It usually entails minor dental surgery because the gingiva or gums will have to be penetrated in order for it to be successful. This makes the dental implant superior to the temporary dentures that you have to take out from time to time to clean because it’s more anchored or affixed to your jaw the way your natural permanent teeth would after they’ve erupted.
- Tooth Root Replacement: Because it’s screwed right into the jaw, the titanium implant replaces the root-part of your missing tooth, allowing it to simulate the permanence of natural teeth by being literally affixed to your maxilla or mandible jaw. After the implant has been implanted, the crown is attached on the jutting or visible part of it on the surface of the gums in order to give you a realistic looking and functioning prosthetic tooth.
- Strategic Placement: It’s painful to put in dental implants for each and every one of your missing teeth. It’s also not practical since every single implant costs $3,000 to $4,500 (it’s much cheaper in dental tourism destinations like Thantakit Clinic, where it only costs $2,000 to $3,000). It’s better to avail of 4-8 precision-placed implants on the top or bottom of your mouth to restore your full pearly white smile than to have a temporary or detachable type of denture that you might lose or damage accidentally.
- Tough, Permanent, and Natural: The beauty of the all-on-4 treatment is that after it’s done barring extra adjustments, you’re instantly gifted a natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing Hollywood-level smile once the bridges and arches are installed. What’s more, because the titanium implant is fused or screwed into living bone, they’ll eventually become part of the jawbone and serve as strong anchors to prosthetic teeth. These foundations to your new teeth can withstand the immense grinding and gnawing bite forces of your mouth, from the front incisors to the back molars.
- Prevents Bone Loss in the Jaw: Your body adjusts to most anything for good or for ill. If you lose some of your teeth, your mouth and remaining teeth will adjust through the process of shifting the gap left by your missing teeth. This goes quadruple to those who’ve lost most or all of their teeth. This tends to result in future bone loss of your jaw. By having prosthetic teeth present, it maintains your youthful facial structure and guarantees that your chin won’t end up losing bone structure to adjust to the lack of teeth from your gummier self.
In other words, if you want better oral health, a youthful face, jawbone maintenance, and the ability to eat with a complete set of teeth that you don’t have to take out and put into a glass from time to time, then perhaps the all-on-4 method of dental restoration is for you.
What’s The All-On-4 Dental Implant Procedure Like?
Getting implants for the first time can be intimidating. Quite a lot of patients fear the uncertainty of such a procedure. Therefore, to ease your potential worries, here’s a step-by-step summation of the process for getting the all-on-4 dental implant procedure. The basic procedure typically involves applying the anesthesia, preparing the area for surgery, placing the implant, and cleaning plus suturing after the operation.
- Anesthesia Application: First off, the dentist will make sure you’re comfortable on the dentist chair. From there, local anesthesia might be administered unto you. If you’re so antsy with dentistry that numbing your jaw isn’t enough to keep you from panicking, you can opt to get general anesthesia instead to put you under or keep you unconscious while the operation is ongoing. Using powerful sedatives to keep you calm and comfortable during dental operations is known as sedation dentistry.
- Preparing Your Mouth: Afterwards, the surgeon or dentist will prepare your mouth for the implants, such as removing the remaining teeth you have to make way for the arches. Sometimes, it can become a 3-on-all or mixed implant and bridge procedure in case one or more remaining teeth can be used as an anchor for the dental bridge. All they need is a little shaving and drilling. The dental will then remove any infected or diseased tissue from your gums and jaw.
- The Implant Process Itself: The implantation procedure itself involves inserting the titanium screws or post unto your jawbone after the surgeon has sliced through the gum to access it. The likeliest scenario is placing two implants towards the front of your mouth and two towards the back of your mouth so they serve as even anchors that can bear the force of the denture when you bite or grind unto your food. More implants might be called for like all-on-6 or all-on-8 to ensure better anchorage for your dentures as well.
- Cleanup and Suturing: After the placement of the implants, the dentist or surgeon will then thoroughly clean the surgical sites to ensure no infection can happen as well as suture all the incisions unto the gums. You’ll then be placed in the recovery room for the sake of relaxation and healing. It will take a bit of time for you to wake up from the general anesthesia or for the numbness of the local anesthesia to wear off.
All-On-4 Dental Implants Recovery Time
It can take 3-8 months to fully recover from an all-on-4 to all-on-8 dental surgery. After you’ve gotten all-on-4 denture bridges or crowns, you should be able to eat and function with your mouth normally at a sooner time. The reason for the length of time is because it takes time for the implants to fuse to your bone and ensure the stability of your denture. Proper aftercare of the denture in is also critical in the fusing process.
In regards to what to expect when recovering from this delicate and painstaking operation, you should brace yourself for the following:
- First Hour of Recovery: You will have gauze packs put into the areas where you’ve undergone surgery around the first hour after your recovery or until you stop bleeding from the mouth. To keep these packs in place, you should gently bite on them but not too much. An hour after that first hour, you’ll be asked to remove the gauze unless there’s still a lot of bleeding occurring, in which case they’ll be replaced with fresh gauze packs instead.
- After You’ve Gone Home: If you’re still bleeding, replace the gauze every 30-45 minutes until the bleeding stops. After going home from surgery, ensure that you don’t do anything strenuous or something that can disturb your freshly sutured areas. Don’t touch the implants or rinse your mouth yet. Do only gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush as well.
It’s also a bad idea to smoke tobacco soon after implant surgery or in general, since that will also aggravate and irritate the spots where the surgery took place. Although you need to be extra gentle when brushing, you should keep at it in order to keep your mouth as clean as possible. Your dentist might even prescribe you a special medicated mouthwash in order to keep the bacterial load down orally. This rinsing liquid should also help with your healing as well.
- 24 Hours After Surgery: If after 24 hours since the surgery there’s still minimal bleeding left, you can gently rinse your mouth with saltwater. Drop a tablespoon of salt on a mug with 8 ounces of water. Rinse gently and don’t gargle too hard Let the water drip from your mouth to the sink rather than spitting it out hard. Rinse your mouth this way 2-3 times every day. If the bleeding remains excessive after 24 hours, consult your dentist.
- The Days Following Surgery: Have lots of bed rest or couch time the days following the procedure to ensure a full recovery. Those should be your main activities during this time. As for the things you should avoid doing, they include strenuous activities like intense workouts, lifting heavy objects, chewing gum or tough meats, and the like since this could lead to swelling and bleeding from the surgical sore spots.
Additionally, when you transition from a prone or supine position to standing, you should do so slowly. You can end up lightheaded when you stand up suddenly. If you normally exercise everyday, avoid exercising 3-4 days after surgery. Resume exercising on the 5th day but take it easy. During this recovery period, you should prioritize eating soft foods, pain management through medications and avoidance of hard activities, and resting.
Did you know that among adults, tooth loss is extremely common? We’re not even talking about senior citizens whom you expect will be using false teeth or dentures for most of their remaining years. Rather, you’ll be surprised at how young some of these adults are when they start losing their teeth, although it’s a given as the older you get the likelier you’ll lose your teeth. To be more specific, 35 million Americans are missing all of their lower or upper teeth, sometimes both.
Instead of living in discomfort and inconvenience with the hassles of dentures, isn’t it better to get an all-on-four dental implant restoration that’s so natural-looking and functional most people won’t even realize that you’re missing teeth or have misshapen teeth once those posts and bridges are attached. As for why you should avail of this operation in Thailand instead of in your own locality, it’s all about the savings and the chance to vacation in the beautiful Land of Smiles after you’ve improved your own smile.
Thantakit International Dental Center is Thailand’s longest established dental center. Situated in Bangkok, our clinic is renowned across the world as a destination for world-class dentistry, with most of our patients flying to us from Australia.
Please contact us today and get a FREE dental consultation.