All-on-4®, A Dental Miracle

All–on–4® is the name for a technique used in the total rehabilitation of patients who have lost or will soon lose all of their teeth in one or both arches. This system was developed in the 1990s through studies which were funded by Nobel Biocare which has been a corporate leader in the implant industry since the early 1980s.

The All-on-4® treatment concept is a miracle because patients arrive at their dentist’s office in the morning with either no teeth or teeth which cannot be saved in one or both arches.  At that appointment, the implant surgeon (usually a periodontist or oral surgeon), the prosthetic dentist (in this case, me) and a lab technician work collaboratively.  A few hours later the patient leaves the office with a complete set of teeth which are not removable, which function well and which look amazing.

In addition, no grafting is required before placing the implants with this system. Therefore, most patients who have been told that they are not good candidates for implants because of a lack of bone, or large sinuses, or other anatomical circumstances are perfect candidates for the All–on–4® procedure.

There is no grafting, and no lengthy healing time required. Four implants are placed in each treated jaw. This procedure takes advantage of the dense bone which is available in the front of both the top and bottom jaws and places two implants there. Two more implants are placed in the back of the jaws and at an angle to both avoid sensitive anatomic areas as well as to take advantage of available dense bone there. Permanently fixed bridges can then be secured to these four implants immediately because of the solid primary stability which is gained by these strategically placed implants.

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The full dental bridge which is attached to these implants is not removable, has no coverage of the palate, and can be used immediately to eat a complete diet without restriction. After four to six months, a final fixed prosthesis is placed over the implants once total healing is assured.

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The advantages of All–on–4® are many:

1. Get implants in one day with minimal surgery.

2. Entire procedure completed in one location and one day.

3. Avoid the expense and healing time of bone grafting.

4. Have fixed, not removable teeth.

5. Have a complete new set of teeth which look and feel natural – Smile Again!

6. Have the ability to again eat all the foods that you desire.

If you have any questions about the All–on–4® procedure or if you know someone who would benefit from it, please contact us at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.designsfordentalhealth.com

Your Shimbashi Number And Your Bite

I am writing this article in honor of Dr. Henry “Hank” Shimbashi, a practicing dentist and researcher from Edmonton, Alberta who passed away this week. Dr. Shimbashi was a very influential friend of comprehensive restorative dentists and his research is used every day in offices like mine where problems with the bite and TMJ’s are treated.

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As a result of his research, the Shimbashi number was established to indicate an ideal relationship between the upper and lower jaws. When there is an optimal position of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw, the muscles which are connected to them will also be at their optimal length and can function ideally.

If the relationship between the upper and lower jaws is altered, one or more of the many muscles of the head, neck and face may be overworked causing them to go into spasm — i.e., be painful. This can happen if the lower jaw is too close to or far from the upper jaw, too far forward or back, or shifted in any direction relative to the upper jaw.

Dr. Shimbashi’s research measured muscle activity in over 500 patients. He found that there was an ideal vertical dimension at which the jaw muscles functioned at their maximum potential. In addition, at this ideal position, patients had no symptoms of muscle pain. This vertical dimension was found to be universally applicable in all age groups and all races.

This simple number which we use is the measurement from the gum line of the upper front tooth to the gum line of the lower front tooth. Dr. Shimbashi found this ideal distance to be approximately 19 mm plus or minus one mm (about three quarters of an inch) when a patient bites.  In our office, we often see patients with bite problems whose Shimbashi number is significantly less than ideal  measuring as little as 10 mm or even less. In such patients, the lower front teeth are often nearly completely covered by the upper teeth. Such patients are much more likely to develop tooth and pain problems resulting from their bad bites.

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So what is your Shimbashi number?  If you have any questions about your bite as a result of this article, please feel free to call our office at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com