Full-Arch Implant Restoration Treatment Process
Your dentist will decide how many implants are needed and place them into your jawbone. On average, 6 to 8 implants per jaw are required to support a prosthesis with 12 to 14 teeth in order to restore the entire dental arch.
When 6 or more implants are present, the dental arch can be restored with two or more implant-supported bridges. Most commonly, patients choose a one-piece restoration for the entire arch. In selected cases, 4 or 5 implants may be enough to support a full arch bridge.
There are cases where the construction of a fixed implant supported restoration may not be possible due to anatomical or even financial limitations. In those instances, an implant supported overdenture can be utilised for the rehabilitation of the entire arch.
Which types of full-arch implant supported restorations do exist?
There are several types of implant-supported restorations.
A hybrid is a dental prosthesis of a mixed origin. It consists of plastic teeth and pink acrylic to imitate the teeth and the gums comparable to the traditional removable denture. However, a hybrid is permanently fixed on the supporting implants like the implant bridge. Commonly, it is reinforced with a metal infrastructure. It is a fixed restoration, often described as a Fixed Complete Denture because it looks like a denture (plate). The key difference is that a hybrid is permanently fixed and cannot be removed by the patient.
Metal-ceramic restorations are also called PFM (porcelain fused to metal) restorations. This type of restoration has a metal sub-structure for reinforcement. The overlaying porcelain is fused over the metal. These are the most traditional and well-studied fixed restorations because they offer high aesthetics with superior longevity. A metal-ceramic full-arch implant rehabilitation can be a one-piece bridge or a combination of two or more smaller implant bridges.
This type of restoration is constructed entirely out of porcelain (ceramic). Instead of using metal, it consists of high-strength ceramic material, usually Zirconia. In general, these restorations offer superior aesthetics and under circumstances can last as long as PFM restorations.
This type of restoration has a sub-structure out of metal (usually titanium) or a contemporary high density/high strength polymer. The overlaying aesthetic material is a tooth coloured high-density polymer. These restorations offer superior aesthetics and since polymer is softer than ceramic, they are kinder towards the opposing dentition or the opposing implant restorations.
This is a removable restoration. It resembles a traditional complete denture but it is supported by the implants. This also gives the solution more stability and comfort. The retention is achieved through special mechanisms placed on the implants and in the dentures that are called “attachments”. With these attachments, the denture snaps on the implants which significantly improves the mastication performance, speech and self-confidence.