Dr. Nammy talks about dentures, what they are, why people need them, and how new technologies like all-on-4 implant dentures are changing the way that people feel about dentures.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the best-selling book Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is all-on-4 implant dentures. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you, John.

What Are Dentures?

John: So Dr. Nammy, what are dentures? Just to kind of go back to basics. I know that when I was a kid, I was a little bit freaked out that I saw my grandmother’s teeth in a glass in the bathroom at her house. So is that what dentures are? Or have they progressed a long way since then? Just talk a little bit about the basics.

Dr. Nammy:  Oh my goodness. Wow. I remember my grandma having her dentures too. And it’s so wonderful to know technology has evolved so much more now.

Dentures are basically fake teeth. So they are fake prosthesis that look like natural teeth and help us chew so that we can get good food. And there’s different types of dentures. There’s the traditional dentures, like you’re talking about that your grandmother had, and then there is innovative technology that has allowed us to do dentures that are called an All-On-4 dentures.

So traditional dentures are dentures you take in and out and you saw your grandmother put it in a cup, and that’s traditional dentures. And now there’s so much better technology that we call something an All-On-4. So we put four little implants into the bone and we screw these dentures in, so they don’t need to be taken out.

Who Needs Dentures?

John: And is dentures sort of a last resort when you no longer have any teeth in your mouth or is it…can they be partial dentures if you still have some of your teeth? Or what’s the situation where you need to go ahead and get dentures done?

Dr. Nammy: The times when somebody needs dentures is that the teeth are not salvageable. That is the time to go with an All-On-4, is what we call it. The other times to go is when we look at something long term, we look at…we can do partial dentures. We can do one crown or one implant or two implants, but we see for the patient in the next three to five years or so, it’s going to end up costing them more dental work, more time, more money, more pain. We look at an All-On-4 as an option at that point in time.

Our goal is for you to get treatment done once, do it right, have it last for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And if there is a prognosis that is questionable on a tooth or on several teeth, that’s when we actually go towards an All-On-4.

Why All-On-4 Dentures Are Better

John: Okay. Tell us a little bit about what makes All-On-4 implant dentures different or better than other types.

Dr. Nammy: So the main thing about an All-On-4 is that it’s like having natural teeth and it’s very comfortable. You’re able to chew anything you want, and the process is just like having a hip prosthesis. There’s an implant that goes in that anchors the denture into the mouth. So that way you’re able to crack a nut, be able to eat whatever you like. And the beauty of it is they look natural.

Also, you don’t feel like you have lost your teeth because these stay in your mouth the whole time. Like you talked about your grandmother who had to take her dentures out every day. We don’t have to go through that process, so it’s like getting new sets of teeth.

John: And are there still those sort of older types of dentures as well that you do take in and out and clean every day?

Dr. Nammy: Yes, there are. There are older dentures available for patients. They are traditional and more and more patients are finding that they would much rather invest into an All-On-4 because it’s a better solution for them, and also it’s better for their health. Because when they’re able to chew properly, they’re able to get the nutrients that they need. When they’re able to get the nutrients that they need, they’re able to have a healthier immune system and they’re able to live longer. So many patients find that it’s better to go with an investment All-On-4 than just a traditional denture.

Are All-On-4 Dentures Right For Everybody?

John: Are All-On-4 dentures right for everybody? Or are there any situations where it wouldn’t work for somebody?

Dr. Nammy: The best times that All-On-4’s work is that there’s enough surrounding bone, number one. Number two, it’s the best solution for you. If we can try to save your teeth, we’re going to want to do that, number one.

Number two, we’re going to look at what’s best for you long term, regardless of your age. There could be somebody who is 50 years old and end up getting an All-On-4. There could be somebody who is 70 years old and getting an All-On-4. So it just depends on what is best for each individual person, and what’s going to last them a long time.

How Does An All-On-4 Denture Procedure Work?

John: Talk a little bit about how All-On-4 dentures are fitted and how the procedure works. Are the teeth just a standard size or do they come in different sizes? Are they made to look like what my natural teeth used to look like? That kind of thing.

Dr. Nammy: Actually, the beauty of All-On-4’s is that we are redesigning all teeth so we can make your teeth look perfect, and not only just perfect in looks, but in form and function. So if somebody has developed differently where they had a cross-bite, we can fix that. If their jaw was too far forward, we can fix that. If their top teeth didn’t look proper, we can make them look really good. We can also make sure that their jaws are functioning properly. So All-On-4 really allows us to redesign the entire jaw from scratch in an ideal way.

John: All right. That’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks against for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John. Thank you.

John: And for information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com, or call 415-433-0119.