Full arch implant bridges are a stable, long-lasting way to replace a full arch of missing teeth. Patients learning about their tooth replacement options often have many questions about this effective method for restoring teeth. Below, Dr. Suril Amin, dentist at The Denture & Implant Clinic in Sutton, Surrey, answers FAQs about full arch implant bridges.
This article is a must for anyone who is considering getting a full mouth of implants.
What Is A Full Arch Implant Bridge?
This is a type of restoration using 4-6 implants to secure a fixed full arch bridge. This means it’s in your mouth permanently and doesn’t ever come out. It pretty much feels like your own teeth would have when they were whole and healthy. In regards to cosmetics, well, this depends upon what you are hoping to achieve. Some people like a perfect smile, whereas others want to have little twists and turns to make them look natural. This treatment is also referred to as full mouth implants, all-on-four, or permanent bridges.
How Long Does the Treatment Take From Start to Finish?
Treatment normally takes seven to eight months for the upper full arch implant bridge and four to five months for the lower one. We can reduce these times in specific circumstances.
There are many different protocols, and the right one will depend on several factors, such as your lifestyle, but mostly your quality and quantity of bone. If you have large infections or need to have large amounts of bone added, then it can increase the length of time of treatments by 6 months.
What About Teeth in a Day?
We do many of these procedures. The teeth in a day concept involves placing all your implants (and extracting your teeth if needed) and then attaching a fixed temporary bridge onto the implants in the same day. This means you get to leave the office with secured teeth after one visit.
The temporary bridge is normally replaced after six months with a final bridge. This allows for changes in your gums to occur for proper fit of the final restoration. This concept is also referred to as immediately loaded full arch bridges, same day teeth and fixed teeth in a day.
There is also a technique in which we can take out all of the teeth and place implants in one day. Then, we fit the final permanent bridge the following day. This is a unique concept where our German technicians have a patent. They fly into town especially for you and create a stunning end result. Other clinics who offer this service will often give you a cheaper acrylic bridge, whereas we only use this for temporary bridges. The concept we use is unique in the UK.
Check out our Facebook page to see full arch fixed bridges we have recently made.
What are the costs?
Costs can range from £11k to £15k depending on what material you have the final bridge made from. When choosing a provider, it is important to know what end result you are getting, as the majority of the price you pay goes towards the bridge and not the implants.
What are the different materials you can use and what’s the difference?
They all have their pros and cons. We have used every single material out there many times and as a result have seen the problems of each first hand.
Acrylic– This is the same material that dentures are made from
Strength Rating – 100MPA
Advantages – It looks great to begin with and the main advantage of this option is it’s cheap to make, so if you want a budget option, this one is best for you. It’s easier to repair so if you have any chips, we can generally repair them then and there without having to take the bridge off. If it’s a big breakage, then we would have to take the bridge out to repair it, and this can normally be done within a few hours. This appointment will need to be specially booked. At our clinic, as we have a laboratory on site, we can do this on the same day. At many other clinics, they will need to send the bridge back to the lab, which means that you may be without any teeth until your next appointment!
Disadvantages – The main one is that it’s the weakest material, so expect some breakages. This is also the quickest material to show signs of tooth wear and staining and you will almost definitely get this after 5 years. If you are younger and have a strong bite, this material will not be the best option. If you are 80+, have a weak bite and consume softer foods, then this option may be more suited to you.
At our clinic, because of these big disadvantages, we don’t use this material. Be aware that many clinics offer this option and will charge you premium rates for it as it means more profit for them.
Composite This is the same material white fillings are made from.
Strength Rating – 200MPA
Advantages – It looks great to begin with, but again the main advantage is that it’s cheap. And just like acrylic, it’s easy to repair small chips without having to take the bridge off. If it’s a big break though, you’ll need to take the bridge off. At our clinic, as we have a laboratory on site, we can do this on the same day. At other clinics, they will need to send the bridge back to the lab, which means that you may be without any teeth for a while!
Disadvantages – The main disadvantage is that it’s not that strong and it will show signs of wear and tear after 5 years.
Again the disadvantages often outweigh the advantages, and that’s why we generally don’t do this type of bridge anymore at our clinic.
Porcelain – This is the traditional material we use to make crowns and bridges
Strength Rating – 300MPA
Advantages – This material has been used for many decades for fixed crown and bridge work and so has a good long-term proven track record. It’s long-lasting and should last 10-15 years.
Disadvantages – Generally looks good but not as good as the other materials. The problem is that the way it’s made means that it has a metal framework (which is silver in colour) and then porcelain is built over it. The silver metal colour needs to be blocked out by using opaque coloured paint and then porcelain must be built over it. If you look at a natural tooth, the light shines through it nicely as it is slightly translucent. With this type of bridge, the light will shine through it and then it suddenly hits the opaque layer and bounces back. This can make the teeth look rather dull and opaque which is not what natural teeth normally look like.
The other disadvantage is that if it does chip it’s harder to repair. It may need to be sent back to the lab, and if a big chip occurs then this may take days to rebuild.
Zirconia – This is a newer material which is becoming very popular because it’s super strong.
Strength Rating – 1200MPA
Advantages – Very long lasting, is very strong. It’s also tooth-coloured as well.
Disadvantages – Difficult to adjust because it’s so hard. It’s also expensive and can make a slight clicking noise when eating. It’s also very difficult to repair, so if you have a crack or chip it can be a big problem.
Zirconia with individual crowns
Strength Rating 1200MPA
Advantage – This is actually our favourite material to use. It’s got all the advantages of the option above; however, if you get a crack or chip, it’s easy to repair. We don’t have to remove the bridge, and you won’t be left with any cosmetic issues in the interim period. We used to charge a premium of £4k on top of the usual porcelain bridge fee for this option, but because we like it so much and it’s the best for our patients, we no longer charge this extra fee.
Disadvantage – It’s very expensive so you will be lucky to find a dentist who offers this at a reasonable fee.
What if I don’t have enough bone?
Our highly skilled implant surgeons can add bone easily, so this is not something you should worry about.
There are many different types of bone. Click here for our blog that explains the different types and how they can be added.
Will they look fake?
No, we pride ourselves on achieving supreme aesthetics and spend time to make the bridges look natural. Our goal is always to make them look great and for no one to know they are false. When teeth look fake, it’s for a number of reasons:
- The colour is inappropriate. If the teeth are super white and you’re 60, it’s going to be obvious that they are fake. A natural white colour will make the teeth look nice but natural at the same time. Also, fake-looking teeth will be monochromatic—that means that the colour will be the same for every tooth and all aspects of the tooth. When you look at natural teeth they are a combination of colours. This means that to make them look good, we have to put nice little artistic features in them. This is something that a lot of technicians don’t do because they just don’t have the skills, so it’s important to ensure that your dentist picks a highly skilled lab technician to make the final bridge.
- The shape/mould of the teeth. If you look at a perfect natural smile, all the teeth look slightly different. So when we plan your smile, we must replicate this. When you see teeth that are very blocky, you know straight away that they are fake. The size and shape of the teeth also need to match your face, body and personality. For example, if you have a very square face, giving you square teeth is going to accentuate that square look, so in this instance a softer shaped tooth would be more pleasing to the eye.
- The material chosen. This has been explained above. You need something that mimics the natural tooth well.
What are the pros and cons of fixed arch implant bridges?
A fixed, full-arch, implant-supported bridge is the best option, as you can eat whatever you want, you don’t ever have to remove the teeth, and they look and feel like a natural healthy set of teeth would.
So, fixed bridges are a great option; however, they do have some disadvantages. Because of the amount of work needed and the fact that only highly skilled dentists can do it, they are generally the most expensive option. However, they are the best option money can buy, and patients who want the best outcome will choose them. The only other drawback is that if you have more implants, it means that you have more to clean. We also recommend you see the hygienist more often to maintain the implants.
Why Should I come to The Denture & Implant Clinic for Teeth in a Day?
We love keeping up to date with the latest techniques, and that’s why we invest a lot of time and money in going to education conferences to see what all the top dentists are doing. From these seminars, we don’t just pick up new ideas but we also compare the work we do to others, and we have found that many clinics charge hefty fees for cheaper materials. When you ask them why they don’t just provide the best, they always say “it’s too expensive” and they can’t afford to do it. I was shocked by this as our standard go-to choice was the most expensive and best material—Individual Zirconia Crowns on a framework. That is why our bridges last the longest, look the best, and rarely have issues. It’s shocking to see that a lot of dentists charge the same price as we do and provide a much cheaper material that will show wear and tear after a few years.
So how do we provide top quality for so cheap?
Well, firstly, as we do a lot of these restorations, we can negotiate better rates from all our suppliers.
Secondly, we have a dental laboratory on site. As we provide the workspace for pretty much nothing, the company has favoured us with special rates, allowing us to transfer this to our patients. So for the same amount of money that you pay someone else, you get an outcome that will last longer. It’s a no brainer, right?
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in learning more about full arch implant bridges for a natural look, Dr. Suril Amin at The Denture & Implant Clinic is here to help! Call us at 020 8629 1226 to schedule an appointment at our office in Sutton, Surrey.