What materials are used with All on 4® Dental Implant Treatment?

By April 26, 2017Dental Implants

Are you thinking about getting All on 4 dental implants ? It can be really confusing to understand so lets help you and give you clarity. What are the different components when people speak of All-on-4 dental implants?

We get it. Us dentists and our teams are notorious for confusing patients so let us do our best to demystify what the All-ON-4 Dental Treatment is.

Lets start with the term that is so often misunderstood “All on 4 Dental Implants”. We will dissect it so you are FINALLY CLEAR.


is referring to All of your smile, meaning all of your teeth and gums, connected as one continuous bridge.

“on 4”

is referring to the number (4) of implants needed to support All of your smile (both teeth and gums)


An example that is NOT the same as All-On-4®

3 on 6® dental implant treatment requires 3 separate bridges (as opposed to ONE with All on 4 Treatment). Each of these three bridges (as opposed to ONE) require 2 implants (3 Bridges x 2 implant each = 6 total implants) but here is the difference we want to get at. These 3 separate bridges generally DO NOT replace All of your smile because they only replace the teeth. This isn’t always a problem early on but as time go’s on, many patients return dissatisfied with their smile because these bridges show dark triangles where the patients gums have receded and left a black void. The only way to fix this is to have them completely redone. This is ALWAYS very frustrating and financially stressful for the patient.

Two Parts to ALL-ON-4 Dental Implant Treatment

we can divide the All-on-4® treatment into two parts. These two parts are the implants (4) and the bridge (one bridge connected to the 4 implants).

Implants (4)

Lets first talk about the implants. Simply put, dental implants are a special type of screw with the purpose replace the the root portion of your teeth. Most dental implants are made of titanium with zirconia being a rare exception WITH SINGLE ANTERIOR IMPLANT/CROWNS. Dental implants function to replace ONLY the root of your teeth. This is the critical connection into your jaw bone which provides the retentive and compressive strength. Its comparable to the foundation of a house or a trunk of a tree. Within the All on 4® treatment process, we place at least 4 implants that will function solely to support all of your teeth. These implants are unique from other regular implants because they provide more prosthetic options and have a much more aggressive thread design, creating stronger and tighter connection to bone. These All-ON-4 type dental implants can be placed in patients that have little bone volume due bone loss caused by tooth extractions or denture wear.

All on 4 Bridge (one continuous bridge)

This is the one piece bridge built on top of the implants. This includes both the gums and teeth and can be made from a large variety of materials. All on 4® Bridge materials can be divided into two categories; monolithic and polylithic.

Monolithic means that its made of only one material making it very strong and less likely to fracture into separate pieces. To make one large bridge requires special milling machines that are very expensive. The primary material in this arena considered to be a permanent prosthesis is zirconia.

Polylithic means its made of two or more materials and glued together to make one bridge. Materials used in this arena include Titanium, PMMA, Resin Acrylic, Denture Teeth, Trilor, Trinia, graphine, and Pekkton, porcelain, zirconia, composite. These styles of devices don’t generally require an expensive milling machine and so many doctors gravitate to them. The primary problem is that under pressure and wear over time, these parts debond. For example the most common call to get from a patient 3-5 years out is ,”My front tooth just broke off.” which creates stress for the patient as well as the doctor.


What Makes Zirconia Strong?

Zirconia is considered “metal free”. In dentistry, zirconia is known as zirconium dioxide, which means it is not pure as there is a slight trace of hafnium inside to improve its strength. When dental zirconia is ready, it will have an opaque looking product that is extremely strong and used to make crowns and bridges. Zirconia can fuse to the bone, similar to the way titanium does, making it suitable for dental implants. There are several advantages to using zirconia for dental implants:

  • No dark metal color showing through the gums
  • No corrosion problems
  • No piezo-electric currents
  • Thermally non-conductive



Dream Dental Implant Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

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