Osseointegration, edentulism, All on 4TM… Costs, pain, time off work, will it work…?
For the Average Joe, these are intimidating terms and questions. But when the alternative is living with discomfort and the hassle of worrying about your appearance, hygiene and meal times, it’s time to find out what your alternatives are so that you can change your life for the better. Time to do some research! Knowledge is power, especially when it empowers you to make a dramatic positive change to your lifestyle and self-esteem. You will also find that signing up for a surgical dental procedure that will change your life forever – such as the All on 4 TM protocol – is not as daunting as it may at first seem once you have a basic understanding of what it entails.
In this two-part article series, we shall be unraveling some of the seemingly complicated dentistry terms and procedures you should become familiar with if you are already edentulous or are facing an immediate future of edentulism. And there’s our first term… edentulism!
Decoding Dentistry Terms
Edentulism is essentially a ‘nice’ way of saying “toothless.” Edentulous is the state of not having a single original adult tooth left.
There are a number of reasons, or causes, for edentulism. Edentulism can quite often result from a chronic lack of proper dental care and hygiene, resulting in gum disease or periodontitis. This terrible disease results from the unchecked activity of oral bacteria, which take up residence on your teeth and gums, feeding on the sugars left behind from meal times (this is why it is so important to floss and brush correctly and regularly!) The by-products bacteria produce are high in acids that attack and inflame the tissues and bone surrounding your teeth.
Some people are unfortunately more predisposed to developing gum disease, be it from pregnancy hormones or age, gender or genetics. Whether you have accidentally knocked out some of your teeth or perhaps you’ve been a bit more neglectful of your toothbrush than you should have been, you may now be in a position where you require some of your teeth replaced, or even all of them.
Removable dentures or false teeth are the traditional solution to rampant tooth loss and edentulism. But, where most other medical technologies and solutions have evolved substantially over the years and decades, this tooth replacement device has, for the most part, remained unchanged in concept. Dentures are uncomfortable, damaging to a patient’s oral health and an embarrassing hassle.
Dental implants, on the other hand, offer patients a fixed (non-removable) and far more sophisticated and long-term solution to tooth loss. Until recently, conventional dental implant procedures were not always an option for the patients who had suffered extensive bone loss in the jaw as a result of having worn dentures for many, many years. But, the innovation of the All on 4TM protocol has changed that. Now, most edentulous and near-edentulous patients are a candidate for fixed oral rehabilitation using All on Four dental implants.
To read more about All on Four dental implants and other dental terminology for the edentulous, stay tuned for the second installment of this two-part article series.