Replacing a Full Arch of Teeth

Our Sutton Coldfield implant dentist discusses the available options

For some people, losing a full arch of teeth often occurs in the later years of their lives. However, it can happen to younger people too and may be caused by accidents or illness, or even the side effects of medication used to treat them. When it does occur though, it can be devastating to our confidence and also our ability to eat and speak effectively.


Traditionally, when this has occurred, a full arch of dentures has been used to replace the missing teeth. These can often feel uncomfortable and inconvenient, although modern advances in denture technology mean that great improvements have been made more recently. For example, some dentures such as the ‘Valplast’ type that we offer at Arthur House Dental Care, are much better than older style ones, offering more comfort and flexibility.

Even with modern dentures such as Valplast though, there are still unavoidable disadvantages. The first of these is that the lack of teeth in the jawbone will cause the face to change shape, often leading to a ‘sunken’ effect in the cheeks, particularly as the years pass. Dentures also need to be removed and cleaned thoroughly, often involving soaking overnight.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are increasingly being used to replace lost teeth, more often than not simply for a single lost tooth. They are also excellent to replace several lost teeth but if a complete arch of teeth has been lost, then, to replace each tooth would be a lengthy and expensive procedure that few would choose.

Dental implants though, can still play a significant role in a procedure used to replace a full arch of missing teeth without the inconvenience of replacing each tooth individually. For this, implants are used as a major component in a procedure sometimes known as an ‘all on 4’ or ‘teeth in a day’. This involves the use of dental implants to hold a fixed bridge in place.

To perform the procedure, two standard dental implants are placed at the front of the mouth and two specially designed implants are placed at the rear. It is these special implants that are key to the success of this procedure. They are placed at an angle near to 45 degrees which increases the security of the bridge placement. This procedure is often suitable for people who have low bone density in their jaw and negates the need for a bone graft beforehand.

Once these have been placed, unlike with individual implants where a wait is necessary for the bone to integrate, a fixed bridge can be attached instantly leaving the patient free to leave the practice with a full set of teeth. Naturally, there may be a little soreness following the procedure and we would suggest that soft foods are eaten for a little while until you feel comfortable and the initial discomfort has subsided.

Once the fixed bridge is in place and settled, you will be able to eat almost anything you want as the ‘all on 4 system’ is much better at coping with “difficult” foods than traditional dentures.

Cleaning too is significantly easier as the bridge does not need to be removed but can be brushed in the same manner as with regular teeth.