October 2, 2020

All-on-4® treatment concept vs. Dentures and Bridges

The choice for or against the All-on-4® treatment concept, dentures or bridges, is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To help you make one of the most important decisions you could possibly take for your dental health, we've created a quick but comprehensive guide on the benefits and disadvantages of each option. 

Helping you make the right choice

The All-on-4® treatment concept, dentures and bridges are common solutions for anyone affected by the loss of one or multiple teeth. All-on-4® and dentures are full mouth options aimed at restoring your smile. Bridges are more commonly used to ‘bridge’ a gap if you’re only missing a single tooth or a few teeth in a row. 

If you’re only missing a single tooth or a few teeth in a row, a bridge may be the way to go

The big difference between All-on-4® and dentures is that conventional dentures are removable. What may seem like a benefit at a first glance, however means that dentures have to be removed overnight. More difficult to maintain and clean, conventional dentures also tend to leave denture wearers with the uncomfortable feeling of a slipping and moving of their teeth, which can make eating and speaking more difficult.

For patients that have lost a single tooth or several, Next Smile™ provides options for both single and multiple dental implants. The innovative All-on-4® treatment concept  full mouth rehabilitation, was developed by Next Smile™ founder and pioneer Dr Paulo Malo. Backed by 25 years of research and a 98 percent success rate, its track record speaks for itself. 

To find out what makes our approach to implant dentistry so successful, visit the All-on-4®  guide on our website.

What you need to know about dentures, bridges and All-on-4® 

Partial and complete dentures

Dentures are what many refer to as ‘false teeth’. They can replace a whole row of teeth or just one or a few teeth. They are temporary solutions to tooth loss. There is no such thing as a “permanent denture”. After the removal of the remaining teeth, gum tissues and bone material continue to change. This means that dentures need to be relined or remade sooner or later.  

Many patients experience their dentures to be uncomfortable, ill-fitted and even wobbly making it difficult to eat a varied diet often leading to being on a soft, mushed diet. The need for constant readjustment and the use of adhesive to keep dentures in place causing a lot of anxiety. The worry that their teeth could fall out, affects many denture wearers on a day by day basis. So does the idea that their dentures could be called out as ‘fake’, which can again have great, negative emotional impacts on patients with dentures.

At a first glance, dentures are the least expensive solution to tooth loss. Taking the additional expense for re-fitting or new dentures into consideration, will however quickly change your mind about this. A well made and well cared for denture will last you anywhere between five to ten years.

Dentures can be made from plastic, metal or a combination of both. Caring for dentures can be time consuming, as they’re not as easy to clean as natural teeth, food often being trapped underneath causing discomfort. Dentures have to be taken out overnight and cleaned thoroughly. This is usually done with special denture soap that helps maintain them in a good condition. Toothpaste is a no-go. Washing dentures requires extra care. As they tend to be rather fragile, dropping dentures may result in an expensive disaster. 

Several dentist visits are required to fit the dentures

Dentures can be made and fitted by a dentist, dental prosthetist or specialist prosthodontist. The one thing you need to know about choosing dentures is that they are usually fitted a few months after your remaining teeth have been removed, to give you some time to heal, gums shrink and reshape over a period of months. This means that you will likely be left without teeth for an extended period. 

In some cases, immediate dentures may be considered. But this is a temporary solution that  will need to be replaced with conventional dentures. Eventually, most patients replace immediate dentures with another option. This makes immediate dentures an expensive undertaking.

Common complications

All new denture wearers will experience some swelling and discomfort after the removal of their remaining teeth and the fitting of immediate or regular dentures. This is very common and definitely manageable. Your trusted dental professional will be able to advise you on the correct aftercare and can help you make your individual experience as comfortable as possible.

Common issues patients with dentures experience, include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding, swelling and discomfort after the initial procedure
  • Dentures don’t fit well, feel loose or are uncomfortable 
  • Mouth ulcers,  gum swelling and in some cases, gum abscesses 
  • Soreness and cracks in the corners of the mouth as the denture ages and the bone flattens
  • Bone loss, as the jaw bone no longer holds teeth and begins to shrink
  • Bad breath, if the dentures are not well cared for
  • Speech issues, which may cause social isolation
  • Trouble chewing and biting, leading to nutritional problems
  • Loss of taste as the palate, roof of the mouth is completely covered.
  • Messy denture adhesives 
  • Rapid facial aging 

Dental bridges

Dental bridges are another solution to closing gaps in your smile. When discussing the benefits and disadvantages of dental bridges, we need to differentiate between the different types of bridges. There are tooth supported bridges and implant supported bridges. 

Bridges use the teeth either side of the gap by placing ‘crowns’ on them, they support the new false tooth replacing the gap. The supporting teeth are referred to as ‘abutment teeth’. Crowns are nowadays normally made from porcelain, ceramic and in some cases even metal, for example gold. Dental bridges are a semi-permanent solution to missing teeth. In most cases, bridges need to be replaced every five to ten years. 

Types of dental bridges commonly used to restore smiles: 

  • Traditional bridges: If you have natural teeth left on both sides of the gap, a traditional bridge may be the way to go. In which case a single tooth or multiple teeth will be bridged (which is just another way of saying, they’re stuck together) and attached to the neighbouring teeth using dental crowns.
  • Cantilever bridges: Similar to traditional bridges, your natural teeth hold up the crown. But instead of supporting the false tooth from both sides, a Cantilever bridge is only connected to one remaining tooth. It is a less commonly used solution, as it puts a lot of strain on the abutment tooth.
  • Maryland bridges: Maryland bridges are, again, quite similar to traditional bridges. But instead of ‘sticking’ teeth together, they use a metal frame of either metal or porcelain to bond abutment and false teeth. This means abutment teeth do not need to be prepared or damaged. But since the metal wings tend to debond, Maryland bridges have to be refitted every few years.

Implant supported bridges

Instead of a crown or metal frame, implant supported bridges use one or more dental implants to support the bridge. Traditionally, one implant has been used for every missing tooth. Thanks to the advancements of modern dentistry, a bridge replacing several missing teeth can now be carried by only one implant. The natural bone adheres to the implant, acting as the anchor for new teeth, just as a natural root would. 

Having an implant-supported bridge fitted usually requires a minimum of two dentist visits. One to embed the anchoring implant and another to place the bridge. All in all, the procedure usually takes three to six months to complete.

Here is what’s great about dental implant supported bridges: 

  • They are a permanent solution to missing teeth. 
  • They provide the same functionality as your natural teeth would. 
  • They look and feel just the same.
  • They allow you to eat and drink as you always did. 
  • Dental implants stop other teeth from moving.
  • They prevent the wasting away of bone and further complications.
  • Next Smile™’s dental implants are made from biocompatible titanium,allowing the anchor/implant to integrate with the jawbone - an important process called osseointegration
Common Complications

As we are looking at common complications and issues associated with bridges, we need to again differentiate between temporary, bridges and permanent, implant supported bridges. 

Tooth supported bridges have the tendency to come loose, if they are not perfectly fitted or the cement/glue debonds. Keeping up with good oral hygiene is vital. If teeth that carry a crown erode or decay, the bridge will no longer be secured in place. Often the crown leaks underneath and you are unaware that the crown or bridge is failing. As the colour of natural teeth changes over time, crowns can begin to stand out after a while. 

Dental bridge vs. dental implant

If you’re not sure which of the above mentioned options could be right for you, consider the following:

  • Dental implants are a permanent solution to restoring natural looking teeth.
  • Bridges are the more affordable solution, but require periodic replacement.
  • Dental implants may require surgery, but offer better results in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
  • Bridges do not require surgery, but placing crowns on the adjacent healthy teeth can compromise them leading to future decay and tooth loss; bridge failure.
  • Bridges require meticulous cleaning,specialised floss and cleaning aids required,
  • Dental implants protect your jawbone by preventing bone loss.

An alternative option: The All-on-4® Treatment Concept

After learning about the benefits of dental implants, you will be pleased to learn that there is an alternative to both bridges and dentures that is a superior choice in many ways.

All-on-4® is an innovative method of restorative dentistry offering patients the opportunity to receive an entirely new set of permanent teeth in as little as a day. Yes, that means you don’t have to spend months without teeth while you’re waiting for your new teeth to be made. 

A Next Smile™ All-on-4® involves the replacement of all teeth on only four dental implants to support your new, natural-looking teeth. In a single-day procedure, your remaining teeth are removed and all four implants are fixed to your jawbones. Next, a temporary ‘provisional bridge’ is fitted only 24 hrs later. Your final and permanent bridge is fit within three to six months of surgery, giving your jaw and gums plenty of time to heal and your implants the chance to settle in and fuse with your jawbone. 

This unique approach is what we proudly call the ‘Malo Protocol’, named after its inventor Dr Paulo Malo. We adhere to this protocol because it provides predictable outcomes for our patients and results with a clinically proven 98 per cent success rate, a fact proven by over 25 years of clinical data.

The benefits of All-on-4®

  • All-on-4® is a permanent solution that results in teeth that look natural and feel great.
  • All-on-4® functions just like real teeth. Say goodbye to discomfort and self-consciousness. 
  • Your new teeth will be fit immediately, assisting you to live your life normally.
  • All-on-4® allows for a full-arch restoration using only four implants.
  • It requires a minimally invasive procedure that allows you to heal and recover quickly.
  • No need for bone grafting. All-on-4® is designed to work with minimal jawbones.
  • All-on-4® provides for simpler maintenance and easier cleaning.
  • All-on-4® improves the strength of jawbones and prevents bone loss.  

Whilst All-on-4®, at a first glance, may look more expensive than the above mentioned alternatives, it only appears so because:

  • You are choosing a solution that can last a lifetime 


  • At Next Smile™, you will be charged one price for your entire treatment - no hidden fees or extra charges. 

We believe that cost transparency will help you make an informed decision. To take the guesswork out of the All-on-4® treatment concept pricing, you can view our transparent approach on our pricing page.

Possible complications

All-on-4® has an extremely high success rate of over 98 per cent. But, as it is common with every surgery, there are a few risks we want to mention.

Like with any surgical procedure, potential risks and complications may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Poor healing

In rare cases, dental implants fail to integrate due to factors such as poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding, smoking, poor bone density, nutrition, or pre-existing health conditions. However, carefully following all aftercare instructions provided by your Next Smile™ team will greatly decrease the possibility of failure. 

Why people prefer All-on-4® to other solutions 

All-on-4® is a permanent solution to restoring a smile that closely resembles your natural teeth. All-on-4® delivers fast, effective results that are not only permanent, but require the same maintenance natural teeth would. 

Those of our patients who have tested dentures and bridges before they discovered our innovative approach, agree: In terms of look and feel, nothing compares to All-on-4® with dental implants. With us, you’re in safe and experienced hands. Why don’t you see for yourself and check out the amazing before and afters of some of our happy patients.

We fully understand that the out-of-pocket cost for dental treatments may pose a barrier for some patients, which is why we offer a range of payment options and the necessary support to help you achieve the perfect smile and improve your quality of life.

Need more information?

We are hosting regular information evenings at our clinics, as well as virtual sessions that you can join online from anywhere. If you’d like to learn more about the Malo Protocol and All-on-4® treatment options or schedule a personal consultation, please get in touch.

Please note: This article is published for informational purposes only. Please seek the guidance of a trusted dental professional with any questions you may have in regards to your dental health. Alternatively, contact your local Next Smile™ All-on-4® Centre and our friendly and competent staff will be happy to offer further advice.