What Do Rabbits Have to Do with All-on-4 Dental Implants?
How much does All-on-4 cost? What is our specific approach to All-on-4 cases at our clinic here in San Antonio, TX? These and other questions can be answered with a little dental history about rabbits and implants.
Since the 1900’s, acrylic dentures were the only viable option for replacing lost teeth. For many patients, dentures feel natural and are easy to wear. Unfortunately, others have a terrible experience. Roughly half of all dentures collect dust on a nightstand instead of helping their owners chew. The denture problem had dentists looking for solutions…
The Beginning of Dental Implants
In the 1960’s, researchers working with rabbits made an accidental discovery. They discovered that bone accepts and heals around titanium screws! By the late 1970’s, doctors began experimenting with placing titanium anchors in the lower jaw. They began to stabilize loose lower dentures. In the 1980’s, specialists began using these dental implants to help denture wearers. Finally, by the 1990’s, general dentists joined their colleagues and began to help patients with single missing teeth.
By 2010, the dental implant field was ready for another leap. By this time, dentures could be stabilized and single teeth replaced with a high success rate. However, there was no affordable way to restore and replace a patient’s full arch. Major obstacles remained. One of them was bone grafting of atrophied dental ridges and sinuses. The second was the complicated teeth fabrication techniques borrowed from traditional dentistry. These factors meant treatment was expensive and required a long healing period.
The All-on-4 Breakthrough
However, a more affordable solution for patients needing full arch replacement finally came around 2012. It’s name is “All-on-4”. It refers to the fact that all the new teeth are on 4 (or more) implants. The protocol is simple and straightforward. The treatment cost is 30% lower. All-on-4 costs less with the use of as few as 4 implants and screw-receiving abutments. This concept bypasses bone grafting procedures by placing the implants wherever the bone is available. The angled implants are then “corrected” with angled connections, called abutments. The All-on-4 treatment concept streamlines laboratory and clinical procedures. It reduces doctor’s time, patient’s time and the cost of implant components.
All-on-4 Dental Implants: the Technology we use every day for Optimum Outcomes
The All-on-4 Dental Implant Treatment is an entirely new kind of dentistry project which requires special equipment to be successful.
In the Planning Phase, we couldn’t do it without:
- 3D CT Scanner: These advanced x-ray machines, also called Conebeam CT’s, use powerful technology to reveal exactly what’s inside your body. The dentist can examine bone, nerves, and tooth roots before, during and after surgery. All-on-4 surgery requires careful planning and our i-CAT unit allows us to complete most surgical cases. Read more about our i-CAT Next Generation 3D Scanner.
- Intra-Oral 3D Imaging Scanner. Our Medit i500 scanner, one of the most accurate scanners available today, plays a key role. Our team is able to capture accurate digital impressions of the patients’ mouth, both teeth and gums. This surface scan is then merged with the 3D X-ray to create a virtual model of the patients’s mouth. Read more about our Medit i500 scanner.
- Custom Surgical Guides fabricated for each surgery. Prior to surgery, we analyze the virtual surgical field and plan the surgery accordingly. Our partner then fabricates a custom surgical guide to enable us to complete the oral surgery with precision and accuracy. These guides make the surgery much more predictable and successful. To learn more about surgical guides, visit our Surgical Guide Manufacturer.
- Special Implants with aggressively threaded designs with screw-receiving multi-unit abutments. Not all implants are suitable for supporting all teeth on just 4 of them. And not all abutments (the connecting components between the new teeth and implants) are designed to work under the stress of a full set of teeth.
In the summer of 2019, we added a new section to our dental office, an in-office dental laboratory. It is equipped exclusively with German Engineering Software and Technology purchased from Esthetic Professionals, one of the authorized Amann Girrbach AG. We now design and manufacture our patients’ new teeth on our premises. When creating All-on-4 new teeth, we now incorporate into our work:
- ExoCad is the leading dental laboratory software for designing teeth, crowns, partials and dentures, mouth guards, etc
- NextDent 5100 3D printer is the most advanced 3D printer in the dental field. Computer Designed Virtual Teeth become reality by the additive process in our 3D Printer. We use the printer every day to print actual teeth, dentures teeth, prototypes, single teeth and bridges, denture bases, night guards, models, trays, retainers, just to name a few. In the All-on-4 treatment sequence, we print provisional teeth which will serve the patients during the healing and testing phase.
- Amann Girrbach Motion 2 Milling Unit (5-axis dental CNC unit). Once we design the new teeth in a software suite such as ExoCad, we are able to bring to life our designs in our milling unit. Our milling machine, the most advanced on the market in 2019, has the capability to mill out of all dental materials used at this time: zirconia, e-max, metal, wax, stone, acrylics, titanium, etc). In the All-on-4 treatment sequence, our milling unit helps us mill the final Zirconia bridges.
- Amann Girrbach Therm III Zirconia Oven. Zirconia Teeth and Bridges become as hard as metal once they undergo a hardening process called sintering. To accomplish this final step, we use a specially designed zirconia baking oven where freshly milled unsintered zirconia teeth undergo their final transformation to become beautiful and lifelike in their final hardened state.
All-on-4: What is the cost of All-on-4 in San Antonio, TX?
Patients ask this question very frequently, both on the phone, on our social media platform, and in person. Patients ask it honestly, and dentists, we believe, must also answer it honestly. Our dental office believes in transparency and clarity. That’s why we post on our website the most common implant fees on the Implant Fees page.
The average cost of an All-on-4 procedure ranges between $28,000 and $38,000 per arch. The fee varies due to surgery complexity and specific patient needs. We evaluate each patient’s case carefully and thoroughly during their consultation.
Dental Insurance plans are designed to help patients pay for routine dental care. All-on-4 is not routine dental work and does not get covered by dental insurance. However, most plans do cover some of the procedures required, such as doctor’s exam, x-rays, extractions, implant procedures, and healing removable denture. Our office will help you maximize your dental plan benefits by submitting the claims on your behalf. As a result, most of our patients receive the full benefits of $1,000 to $1,500.
The majority of our San Antonio patients afford this treatment and pay a portion of treatment with conventional methods (cash, check, debit and credit cards) and set up a monthly payment plan for the remainder balance. Their payment is similar to a new car payment, between $450 and $550 per month.
Call us today and Schedule an Implant Consultation to see how a payment plan could help you afford the All-on-4 Dental Implants treatment.