Do I have to get All-On-4 if bone grafting didn’t work?

I need some advice on whether or not I will have to get all-on-4 dental implants. My current dentist was recommended to me by my former dentist. My former dentist moved to Florida. Before she moved, my former dentist had given me a referral to a periodontist for a dental implant. I have a tooth that was damaged during a root canal by yet a different dentist and the tooth had to be pulled. I never made it to the periodontist because I couldn’t afford it at the time. Now that I can afford the implant my new dentist insisted on placing it because he had training in doing implants. When I asked him how many implants he had placed, he told me that he had done hundreds of implants. He also assured me that he could do the bone grafting too. The bone grafting is done, but when my dentist tried to place the implant 3 weeks ago, he said the graft couldn’t support the implant. He recommends a dental bridge instead. I asked for time for me to think about it. I knew that I should have gone to a periodontist. I don’t think I would have this same outcome. Is there any chance that I can go somewhere else and get it done, or will I have to get all-on-4 because bone grafting doesn’t work for me? Thanks Morris

Morris

It’s unlikely that you would have this same experience with a periodontist or a prosthodontist. Some dentists, including prosthodontists, have advanced training in implantology. They specialize in bone grafting and implant surgery. All-on-4 dental implants aren’t suitable for your case. That treatment replaces a full arch of teeth—not a single tooth. Even when a full arch of teeth is needed, an experienced prosthodontist can successfully complete bone grafting.

It sounds like your dentist might have experience with dental implants, but bone grafting is a more complex procedure. He might not have sufficient experience in grafting to successfully complete your case. It’s good that your dentist isn’t trying to place an implant without sufficient bone density. That would be a disaster that leads to implant failure, so be thankful that he won’t proceed.

Your dentist wants you to have a successful form of tooth replacement. He must feel confident about producing better results with a dental bridge than with an implant. If you really want a dental implant, we suggest that you get a second opinion from a prosthodontist. He or she will examine the location of your missing tooth and let you know your options for bone grafting. All-on-4 isn’t among your options for replacing a single tooth.

Your current dentist might be willing to give you a referral. If not, schedule consultations with a few board-certified prosthodontists, compare your options and the cost, and decide which dentist will provide your implant.

This post is sponsored by board-certified prosthodontist and implant dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.