If you've lost multiple teeth or your teeth have been considerably damaged by decay or trauma, your dentist may recommend full mouth rehabilitation. This involves the restoration of all teeth in the upper and lower jaws and can also involve your gums, jaw and other facial structures.
Full mouth rehabilitation uses dental implants*, crowns, veneers and other treatments to help restore your healthy smile and oral health. If you still have some healthy teeth remaining, these may need to be extracted or they could be used to support your replacement teeth.
What is full mouth rehabilitation?
Also known as full mouth reconstruction or restoration, full mouth rehabilitation is the artificial rebuilding of the teeth, jaw, gums and other mouth and face structures.
Depending on your situation and the type of treatments you need, your rehabilitation may be carried out entirely by your dentist or a team of dentists and oral surgeons specialising in different areas, such as endodontists, orthodontists, periodontists and restorative dentists. They will recommend a comprehensive treatment plan to help restore the dental structure of your mouth and prevent further damage from occurring.
Full oral rehabilitation usually involves multiple treatments that are completed over a number of appointments. However, some procedures such as All-on-4 dental implants may be completed in a single visit to your dental clinic.
These treatments replace missing or damaged teeth with strong, long-lasting prostheses that aim to look, feel and function like natural teeth. They can also restore lost gum and bone tissue and stimulate new bone growth in your jaw.
Who can benefit from full mouth rehabilitation?
Your dentist may recommend a full reconstruction if there is substantial damage to your teeth, gums or jaw.
The most common reasons for full mouth rehabilitation are:
- you only have a few or no healthy teeth remaining in your mouth
- your teeth are badly damaged by decay, injury or other trauma
- your teeth have been excessively worn by grinding (bruxism)
- your gums have been damaged by periodontal (gum) disease
- you have a problem with your bite (malocclusion).
Full rehabilitation can often be a more affordable and convenient option than individual dental implants if you need to replace multiple teeth. These treatments aim to restore the strength and function of your mouth as well as its appearance.
What are my options?
Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth to determine the most suitable treatment plan for you. This will involve the use of dental x-rays and may involve taking an impression of your mouth to create implants, crowns and other prosthetics.
Depending on your situation, full mouth rehabilitation may involve one or more of the following treatments:
Dental implants are titanium restorations that are positioned in the jaw and serve as replacement tooth roots. The implant is covered by a porcelain or ceramic crown that's designed to look like your natural teeth. If your jaw doesn't have enough bone mass to support an implant, you may need a bone grafting procedure.
If you're having multiple teeth replaced, your dentist may suggest options such as All-on-4 implants. This method uses just four implants to support a whole arch of replacement teeth, rather than using individual implants for every tooth. All-on-4 usually doesn't require any bone grafting.
Crowns and bridges
Dental crowns are porcelain or ceramic caps, which are fitted over damaged teeth or dental implants. They can function as replacement teeth and are designed to look, feel and function like your natural teeth.
Dental bridges are artificial teeth that are used to fill gaps where teeth have been lost or extracted. Bridges may consist of a single replacement tooth or multiple teeth, and are supported on both sides by crowns.
Dental veneers are thin strips of porcelain or composite resin that are fitted over the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers are a less intensive treatment compared to dental implants and crowns.
This cosmetic dental treatment is less likely to have an impact on your oral health, and veneers can help to cover up stains or discolouration, close minor gaps and straighten crooked teeth.
If your gums are affected by periodontal disease, your dentist may first try to remove the plaque through scaling and root planing. If your gum disease is advanced (periodontitis), you may need a soft tissue or bone graft to replace lost or damaged tissue in your gums, jaw and teeth roots.
If you have a 'gummy smile,' you may also choose to have your gums repositioned to remove excess gingival tissue and show more of your teeth.
If your upper and lower teeth don't fit together properly, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners to correct your bite. Your orthodontic treatment should ideally be completed before other rehabilitation treatments begin.
If your malocclusion is too severe to be treated using orthodontics, your dentist may recommend jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery). This involves realigning and repositioning your jaw, which can help with bite problems and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).
How long does it take?
The length and scale of your full mouth rehabilitation will depend on how severe your condition is and the type of treatments you choose.
In more severe cases, treatments can involve multiple appointments at your dental clinic or other locations and can take more than a year. This is especially the case if you require bone grafting, as it can take the new bone tissue up to six months to fuse with your jaw before dental implants can be fitted.
If you're having a less intensive treatment or using All-on-4 implants, full mouth rehabilitation can sometimes be completed in a single appointment.
- Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.