How many dental implants do you need for replacement of all missing teeth? And does that change the overall cost of dental implant treatment? Well- That depends. First, you must decide if you want a removable or a fixed set of teeth. For removable teeth, two to four implants are sufficient for support of an overdenture. For fixed set of teeth, four to six dental implants are typically necessary for support of a hybrid prosthesis. On rare occasions, eight implants may be recommended for the support of a fixed bridge or hybrid.
The number of dental implants is determined based on the size of the arch (the span of the upper and lower jaw), amount of remaining bone, anticipated chewing load, and anatomical limitations such as nerves or sinus areas. To ideally design a treatment and number of required implants, the oral surgeon in collaboration with the restorative dentist will obtain a CBCT (cone beam CT Scan) and perform a virtual implant surgery on software. The planned restoration is designed on the computer, and then implants are distributed accordingly. The team can then determine whether to use 4, 5, 6 or more implants for proper support of the prosthesis.
The All-On-4 treatment approach has become very popular and often advertised by implant centers like ClearChoice. While it can be an acceptable treatment option for some patients, it may not be appropriate for all. It is critical to consider all the factors and recommend what is most effective and predictable in each patient.
For full arch implant replacements, we offer a fixed fee structure which does not change whether we use 4, 5, or 6 implants for fixed hybrid treatments. This way we can select the most appropriate number of implants based on patient needs, lifestyle, anatomy, and biology and not based on its fees.
Dr. Kazemi is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Bethesda MD and director of Lifetime Dental Implants at Kazemi Oral Surgery & Dental Implants