According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 35 million Americans have no teeth, and 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth.

Whether the tooth loss was caused by poor dental hygiene, heredity, a high-sugar diet, bulimia or other diseases, it is a common occurrence and can make life less enjoyable.

Missing teeth can make it difficult to eat and speak, and it also can lead to low self-esteem. People who are missing teeth often don’t want to smile in front of others because they are embarrassed.

If you have lost all of your upper teeth or all of your lower teeth, whether you have been wearing dentures or not, Nobel Biocare’s All-On-4 Dental Implants might be right for you.

With this technology, all of the teeth on either the top or bottom arches of the mouth can be replaced with just four implants. The implants, which are just titanium screws, are placed inside the jawbone during a minor surgery.

Two posterior angled implants and abutments allow a temporary acrylic prosthesis to be screwed to the four implants the same day.

Six months after the surgery, a final prosthesis with a titanium bar is put in to replace the temporary one.

Let’s face it, dentures can be uncomfortable. Other implants are not as strong, precise or economical as All-On-4. This technology also helps preserve the jaw bone, which slowly dissolves over time with the loss of teeth.

Because the implants are made of titanium, they fuse to the bone and over time become permanently fixed to it. The fusion prevents further bone loss.

But one of the biggest benefits of the system is that if anything ever breaks or chips, it can be removed, repaired and replaced easily with only four screws.

All-On-4 was successfully introduced in 1998. I began offering the treatment in 2010. This procedure offers the closest thing to having a permanent, healthy set of teeth.

If you are missing a complete arch of teeth and don’t want the hassle of dentures, All-On-Four implants can put a smile on your face again.

James G. Jenkins, D.M.D. is the owner of Bluffton Dental Care in Bluffton.