Full Mouth Dental Implants

Individuals who are missing all or most of their teeth in the upper or lower jaw should consider full mouth dental implants as a permanent dental reconstruction option. Dental implants restore the appearance and functionality of the mouth and eliminate the inconvenience of dentures. Patients can replace their upper teeth, lower teeth, or all of their teeth using full mouth dental implants.

Like single tooth implants, full mouth dental implants use titanium screws or posts placed in the jawbone to support replacement teeth. However, when an entire row of upper or lower teeth is replaced, the replacement teeth may be supported by four, six, or eight implants rather than having an individual post for each tooth. This minimizes surgery, encourages faster recovery, and requires less jawbone for successful osseointegration (the process of the jawbone fusing with the implants).

With full mouth dental implants, patients can eat, speak, and laugh with confidence. Implants fit better than dentures, never slip or click, and preserve the jawbone’s strength. They function just like natural teeth and are cared for similarly.

Who is a Candidate for Full Mouth Dental Reconstruction?

Implant surgery requires overall good health and a healthy mouth with enough jawbone density to succeed. Healthy patients who are missing all or most of their teeth in the upper or lower jaw may be candidates for full mouth dental implants if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are looking for a comfortable, permanent solution to missing teeth
  • They have a healthy jawbone that is strong enough and has enough width and height to support dental implants.
  • If they do not have enough jawbone, they are willing to undergo bone grafts to build up the implant areas.
  • They are willing to give up smoking or do not smoke.
  • They are committed to a lengthy process. It takes several months from the initial consultation to the final, permanent placement of replacement teeth.

If you are interested in full mouth dental implants, Dr. Sharon Russell is happy to consult with you and determine whether you are a candidate. She reviews the advantages and drawbacks of the procedure and helps her patients decide which option is best for restoring their missing teeth.

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The Full Mouth Implant Procedure

The full mouth implant procedure is done in several steps. It begins with extracting any remaining teeth in the upper or lower arch. After this, a complete dental exam and 3D dental imaging allow Dr. Russell to plan your dental reconstruction, mapping out the locations of the implants. The site and number of implants used depend on the integrity of the jawbone, the shape of your mouth, and whether you need bone grafts. In most cases, between four and eight implants can support an entire arch of replacement teeth.

Full arch dental implants require surgical placement in the jawbone, after which three to four months are needed for the jawbone to integrate with the implants. The implants are titanium screws that are the base of the dental reconstruction, acting as the roots for your new teeth. During this healing time, a temporary denture is attached to the implants.

When the implants have osseointegrated with the jawbone, custom replacement teeth are created in the form of individual crowns or modified dentures. These are attached to the implants and secured in place. The result is an attractive, full arch of replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like your natural teeth.

Full Arch Dental Implant Options

Several options are available for replacing all of your upper or lower teeth. Each has advantages. Choosing the right option hinges on your preference, the health of your jawbone and gums, and the recommendation of your oral surgeon.

Ball Attachment Denture

A ball attachment denture uses two implants in the lower jaw to support a snap-on denture. This hybrid solution does not require traditional implants but helps stabilize your dentures. While it minimizes shifting, it does not eliminate it. Food debris may get caught under the denture, and you will need to have the denture adjusted occasionally to ensure a good fit.

A mouth with the lower jaw missing all of its teeth
1. Before
A mouth with the lower jaw with two implants and no bottom teeth
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Ball Attachment Denture latched onto the lower jaw by two implants
3. Denture Attached

Bar Attachment Denture

Dr. Russell may recommend a bar attachment denture fastened to multiple implants (usually between four and six). After the implants heal, a custom-crafted support bar is attached to hold an overdenture. Bar attachment dentures are more stable than ball-supported dentures but are still removable for easy cleaning.

A mouth that has all teeth missing on its lower jaw
1. Before
A mouth without teeth and four implants connected by a metal bar on its lower jaw
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Bar Attachment Denture secured onto the lower jaw by four implants
3. Denture Attached

Screw Retained Denture

For permanent placement, screw-retained dentures are an option. These dentures are held in place by screws attached to support posts or a bar. The denture does not touch the gums, allowing you to clean beneath the denture without having to take it out of your mouth.

A mouth that has all lower jaw teeth missing
1. Before
A mouth that has six implants and no teeth on its lower jaw
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Screw Attachment Denture affixed onto the lower jaw by six implants
3. Denture Attached

Individual Implants

The most intensive treatment is replacing each tooth in the upper or lower jaw with individual implants and dental crowns. These closely resemble natural teeth because a denture does not cover the gums. If you want individual tooth reconstruction, you will need at least eight implants placed in the jawbone. The jaw must have enough mass to support the individual implants; otherwise, bone grafts are required.

A digital representation of the lower jaw missing all of its teeth
1. Before
A mouth showing the lower jaw with all the teeth as individual implants
2. Implants Placed
A mouth showing the healed lower jaw after individual implants were placed
3. Healing Completed

The Cost of Full Mouth Implants

Multiple factors impact the cost of full mouth dental implants, including the type of implants chosen, the complexity of the surgery, the type of anesthesia used, and more. Dr. Russell evaluates each patient individually to provide an accurate, up-front price.

Full mouth dental implants can be costly, but most patients feel they are well worth the investment. Patients no longer have to worry about dentures and can eat, drink, talk, and enjoy life with a beautiful smile and a strong, healthy jawbone. They are also less prone to dental diseases such as gingivitis. The preservation of the jawbone and greater functionality make full mouth dental implants economical over the long run.

Full Mouth Dental Implants FAQs

What can I eat after full mouth implants?

For the first two days, stick to a liquid diet, avoiding hot foods. Soups, smoothies, milkshakes, and liquid nutrition supplements are best. Avoid alcohol or carbonated beverages, and do not drink using a straw. After the first few days, you can switch to a soft foods diet, including mashed potatoes, refried beans, pudding, scrambled eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, hummus, soft-cooked fish or chicken, and ice cream. By the second week, you can slowly begin adding in other foods.

Do Full Mouth Dental Implants Hurt?

During the procedure, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. If you have dental anxiety or prefer to be unaware during the surgery, we can provide a sedative, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or IV anesthesia. There is no pain during surgery, although you may feel some pressure. After the anesthesia has worn off, you will experience some pain and swelling for the first few days. These are easy to control with ice packs and the prescription pain medication prescribed by Dr. Russell. Most patients can switch to over-the-counter pain relievers after the first few days. By the end of the first week, there should be little or no pain.

Will insurance cover my dental implants?

It depends on several factors, including the quality and type of dental insurance and whether your medical insurance will cover part of the cost. If your implants are deemed cosmetic, they are not covered. However, if your full mouth dental implants are considered medically necessary, they may be fully or partially paid for by insurance. It is best to discuss this with your insurance provider and Dr. Russell’s staff to determine the maximum available coverage for your implants.

Are dentures better than full mouth dental implants?

Some people prefer dentures because they are not as expensive and do not require surgery. But patients should also consider the benefits of dental implants, including superior appearance, elimination of slippage, and preservation of a healthy jawbone.

How long do full mouth dental implants last?

The implants themselves (the part in the jawbone) can last a lifetime. About 90% of patients who get implants still have them 30 years later. The life span of the attached dentures or crowns is variable. However, depending on the materials and wear and tear, they can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more.

If you have additional questions about full mouth dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Russell by calling The Maryland Oral Surgery Group at Upper Marlboro Office Phone Number 301-967-0183.

Call us: 301-967-0183