What is a full arch restoration?
Losing one tooth can be a trying event and can cause all sorts of problems with chewing and enjoying favorite foods. Luckily, replacing one tooth can many times be completed in one dentist visit. But what happens when multiple teeth are missing – or even all of them – on the top or bottom? When laughing, eating and smiling become uncomfortable or impossible because of a missing full arch of teeth, physical health, and mental health suffers. The good news is that, with today’s advanced dental technology, full arch restorations are not only possible; they are quite common.
In the past, patient options to replace a full arch on the top or bottom were limited to removable dentures. Removable options are still available, but full arch replacements are generally viewed as the treatment of choice because they allow the patient to fully enjoy the look, function, and feel of natural teeth. They won’t slip or click, they help to maintain facial structure, and they are the solution most similar to having a full set of natural teeth.
Permanent full arch restoration is essentially the surgical procedure to insert dental implants – normally made of titanium and similar in shape to a small screw – into a patients jawbone. Once inserted, the dental implant bonds with the natural bone, acts as a substitute for the root of the tooth, and provides the base of support for the one or more replacement teeth, also known as the crowns. The procedure can sometimes be done with as few as four dental implants, which means shorter recovery time between the initial surgery and the final crown attachment.
Full arch restorations are one of the most effective options to restore full sets of teeth, and they are ideal for patients that have suffered from severe tooth loss over the course of their lives. Products like Straumann’s Pro Arch enable personalised treatment options for permanent full-arch restorations, and are able solve different clinical situations with predictable and successful outcomes. Most patients report that not only do they find full arch replacements to be secure; they provide the results they were expecting.
While permanent solutions to replace teeth are a very popular and effective means of treatment, they sometimes are not the best solution for some patients. Certain chronic illnesses, and patients lacking the necessary bone health to support dental implants may not be good candidates for dental implant surgery.
For a patient that might not be a candidate for permanent dental implants, removable options represent a more straightforward approach, and do not require surgery or the additional healing time that the procedure requires. As the name suggests, removable dentures can not only replace a full arch, they are fully and easily removable for sleeping and cleaning; they are not meant to be worn 24 hours a day.
Aside from a lack of jawbone health, there are few reasons why a patient might choose a removable, full-arch option. They don’t require surgery, they tend to be less extensive than dental implants, and the process can be completed faster. On the other hand, the can be less stable than permanent dental implants,
they may take time to get used to inserting and removing, can break or become lost, and they need to be taken out each night to clean.
A hybrid solution between a permanent arch replacement and a removable denture that may be the right solution for some patients, is a fixed bridge. With a product such as Straumann’s BLT dental implant, it’s possible to restore a full arch of teeth with as little as four dental implants fitted with a custom bar or splint that supports a partial, removable denture.
This combination of components allows for proper distribution of forces of bite to strengthen and protect the permanent dental implants, while still allowing the bridge to be professionally removed and cleaned. Because of the distribution of support, a full arch can be restored with a one-piece bridge that looks great and functions properly.
The options for full arch restoration are always changing and improving, and innovation is assisting dental professionals with finding better and faster ways to help patients. Dental professionals are trained to work with patients to discuss and recommend the best option for each individual case and speaking with your dentist about your teeth replacement options is always the best place to start on your journey to regaining your smile.