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What’s the difference between the 3 on 6 and the All on 4?

A question we hear from many patients is what the difference is between the 3 on 6 and the All on 4. The All on 4 has been the leading full mouth permanent restoration for a long time. The All on 4 is still a good and relevant treatment for certain circumstances and our offices offer the treatment as determined by the doctor.

The All on 4 is a prosthetic that is supported by 4 dental implants in one arch of the mouth. It can be placed on the upper and/or lower arch. Because the all on 4 is one piece, it needs to be thicker to prevent fracturing. Because of the thickness, it requires a lot of space in the mouth to be placed. People with some amount of bone loss may want the All on 4 to fill in the empty space and create a more natural looking smile. 

The benefits to the All on 4 over dentures are many. They allow you to eat anything that you could eat with your natural teeth, they aren’t uncomfortable or painful, won’t make you gag, won’t slur your speech, won’t fall out unexpectedly, and don’t need to be removed for daily cleaning. You also are able to retain healthy bone with the implants.

There are some drawbacks to the All on 4. Since the restoration can be so thick, it may be difficult to clean underneath without removal. Most All on 4 patients will need to have an expensive cleaning every 6 months and screws replaced to remove anything that can get stuck in between the restoration and the gums. It also doesn’t feel the same as natural teeth when eating, and doesn’t look as natural because in addition to the teeth, artificial gums are also made, creating an unnatural line between the real gums and the artificial gums on the restoration. Also, many times a patient will need healthy bone removed to make enough room for the All on 4.

The 3 on 6 uses 6 implants to secure 3 bridges onto an arch. For individuals with sufficient healthy bone, the 3 on 6 implant supported restoration is a great option. It can replace the full upper and/or lower arch, but can also replace a partial mouth if there are existing healthy teeth that don’t need to be removed.

Looking at the 3 on 6 restorations outside of the mouth vs the All on 4 you’d notice a big difference. The 3 on 6 just looks like teeth, while the All on 4 looks more like a denture. The 3 on 6 uses existing healthy bone to restore a smile, sometimes incorporating bone grafting to strengthen the implant area.

The benefits of the 3 on 6 over an All on 4, are that the 3 on 6 can be cleaned at home by brushing and flossing, and never need to be removed for cleanings. The 3 on 6 looks and feels more like natural teeth. There is no artificial gum line above the teeth, and minimal bulk, so eating with bridges feels more like eating with your natural teeth. The 3 on 6 also preserves your healthy bone which doesn’t need to be removed to accommodate the bridges.

The only way to know what the best options are for your situation is to see a doctor for a consultation. Every patient is unique and we cater to every patients particular needs.

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