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How Many Implants Are Needed For Full Mouth Tooth Replacement?

Do you have missing or broken down teeth? At Gordon Dental, you have more choices than just wearing traditional dentures. Today’s implant dentistry options make it possible to restore your smile with durable replacement teeth that look and feel as natural as possible. Full mouth dental implants in your upper and lower jaws are a predictable treatment if you’re missing all of your natural teeth. But some options use more or fewer implants than others. Understanding the different choices available can make the reconstruction experience easier to navigate.  

As a leading implant dentist, Dr. Gordon offers a variety of full mouth dental implants systems to fit your lifestyle and budget. But not all of them are identical, nor do they use the same number of dental implants. Some use two or four; others use six or more. Depending on if it’s your upper or lower jaw, fixed or removable option, the total number of dental implants used will vary from one person to the next. 

Here are a few of the most popular full mouth dental implants options:

Implant Supported Overdentures (Snap-on Dentures)

One of the most basic dental implant procedure choices for denture wearers is snap-on dentures. These prosthetics are sometimes called overdentures or clip-on dentures. 

A typical snap-on denture looks and feels like traditional dentures. The only difference is that in your mouth, implants anchor the denture in place instead of you relying on suction. Traditional dentures use suction to keep them secure. But overdentures “clip” or “snap” onto implants so that you don’t need any messy adhesives or denture pastes. Sometimes we can streamline the shape of your snap-on denture to be less bulky and more comfortable since it doesn’t need suction to hold it in place.

If you’re planning on replacing your remaining natural teeth with dentures, an overdenture typically requires four dental implants. Although some dentists only use two in the lower jaw, we prefer to use four dental implants so that the implant denture doesn’t rock or lift whenever you’re chewing. For an upper denture, four dental implants are used almost every single time. 

With overdentures and conventional dentures, you remove your prosthesis at night to clean it and don’t wear it to sleep in. 

Snap-on dentures offer a flexible, mid-range dental treatment option for someone who likes the affordability of traditional dentures but wants the security of dental implant designs. For more information about what is better check out our article on dentures vs. implants

Fixed Zirconia Bridge (All-on-6 Dental Implants)

For an entirely new, fixed set of teeth, we highly recommend a fixed zirconia bridge. A lot of people refer to these full mouth implants as “All-on-4” or “All-on-6”. Ultimately, we’re using fewer implants to permanently anchor a hybrid bridge-denture restoration permanently into the jaw. They’re called “All-on-4” or “All-on-6” because all of the teeth in that arch are anchored onto a certain number of implants.

This fixed set of teeth is one of the strongest and most aesthetic tooth replacement options available in modern implant dentistry. They never chip, break, and don’t stain. They’re the best and most lifelike tooth replacement option that our implant dentist has to offer. When you smile, talk, and eat, no one will even be able to tell that you’re wearing an implant supported prosthesis. Since it’s permanently fixed in place, your day-to-day activities will be nearly identical to how it was before you suffered tooth and bone loss. 

Instead of using a single dental implant where each tooth is missing, a contoured zirconia bridge is affixed onto the dental implants. Zirconia/porcelain implant bridges don’t come in and out of your mouth like dentures do. Instead, they use your jawbone density to support the implant posts, which the new teeth attach to. The implant placement is based on dispersing the pressure of your full arch prosthesis, allowing us to anchor a multi-tooth appliance as opposed to individual implants for single tooth replacement throughout your jaw. 

If you’ve ever looked at a traditional porcelain bridge, a zirconia implant bridge option like All-on-6 includes both the teeth and adjacent gum tissue as part of your restoration. It’s like taking a traditional denture, converting it into durable zirconia, then streamlining the overall shape so that it feels and looks more like natural teeth than it does a denture. 

If you’ve had recent tooth extraction surgery, a sinus lift, or need bone grafting, using six or more implants is still an option for restoring your smile. The beauty of full mouth restoration is that we maximize the healthy bone and gum tissue you already have, so we can use fewer dental implants overall. 

All on 6 full arch implants illustration

All-on-6 vs. All-on-4

Both All-on-6 and All-on-4 dental implants replace all of the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The only difference is how many dental implants these fixed zirconia bridges use to anchor the prosthesis. With fewer implants, there’s less support and retention for the overall zirconia bridge. Even though it’s possible to provide full tooth replacement with only four implants in the upper jaw, our implant dentist frequently recommends using six dental implants for additional stability. Two more dental implants are still less than one implant per two missing teeth. We’re essentially restoring 14 teeth in a row with only 4-6 implants in the jaw. 

In either scenario, full mouth dental implants are so durable that they’re able to support a full arch hybrid restoration. Adding two dental implants to traditional All-on-4 treatments offers peace of mind knowing your new smile will be as durable and strong as possible. 

Visit Our Implant Dentist Near Kansas City

At Gordon Dental in Leawood, we offer free consultations for anyone considering a dental implant procedure. How many dental implants you need will be different than your friend or neighbor. Whether it’s two to four implants or an All-on-6 zirconia bridge, we can make sure you’re getting the quality dental care you deserve. 

During your free consultation, we’ll discuss the differences and advantages of fixed vs. removable option treatments, giving you options for full mouth restoration. Best of all, you can finance your dental implant treatment to fit your monthly budget. 

Replace an entire arch of teeth with as few as four or six dental implants. Dental implant treatment has never been so comfortable and predictable. 

Contact Gordon Dental today to reserve a free, no-obligation consultation at our office in Leawood.