This is part one of a three part review for anyone who is thinking about having the All-On-Four (or in my case the All-On-Six) procedure at the Smile Clinic (Dental Holiday), in Piešťany, Slovakia.
“I am a 52 year old female who had a full set of teeth except for the middle back molars on each side of the upper jaw. These had been extracted in the UK six months previously due to them being extremely loose. The rest of my teeth were in good condition and I had ten veneers on the upper jaw and ten veneers on the lower jaw. To everybody else my teeth looked good. Unfortunately due to years of previous smoking, age and genetics all of my teeth on the upper jaw were beginning to loosen and I could see the effects of bone-loss as my gums began to recede and spaces began to appear between my teeth. After much research into the All-On-Four procedure I decided to visit the clinic in Piestany. I had been used to having a great smile and wanted to preserve it before anybody began to see a difference, as well as having difficulty eating certain foods.
I arrived at the clinic in early December and after X-rays and scans were taken of my mouth by the clinic’s state of the art equipment I had a consultation with Dr. Marek. We sat down together and he clearly pointed out the bone-loss on either side of my upper jaw and confirmed my complaint that I felt the rest of my top teeth were loosening. He marked on the X-ray where he suggested he would place six implants on which to fix a permanent bridge of 14 teeth. I was very glad that he suggested 14 teeth instead of 12 teeth as I have a wide smile and would have been uncomfortable if it looked like my back teeth were missing.
I returned to the clinic in March 2016. I was extremely nervous about procedure. All the staff at the clinic speak good English and are at pains to put you at ease. Natalie, the
patient coordinator, was very knowledgeable about the procedure and patiently explained what would happen on all three of the required visits for the procedure:
- On the first visit my teeth would be extracted and dental implants placed in the gum. I would also require some bone regeneration in the gums at both sides. A temporary bridge would be made and screwed into the implants. Natalie stressed that the temporary teeth would very much resemble my own teeth minus any faults.
- On the second visit an impression would be taken for the permanent bridge and another 20% deposit. This was also the stage at which I would be able discuss any redesign of my teeth shape and colour.
- The third visit would be the fitting of the permanent bridge and any final adjustments plus final payment.
I paid my 60% deposit I was then given a ‘calming’ pill (sedative) and a delicious chocolate protein drink which would stop me feeling hungry throughout the day.
After sitting in the reception area for about half an hour I was taken through to the dental room in which my surgery would be performed. Dr Marek came in and again assured me that although it was a very big thing for me to go through it was something he did every day and without being flippant told me it was just a routine procedure for him. An impression was taken of my upper teeth so that work on the temporary bridge could begin in the dental lab downstairs. I was still feeling very nervous. My heart felt like it was racing and I was really beginning to question my decision to go through with it.
I was then given the first tablet of a week long course of antibiotics and a painkiller. Dr Marek then injected anaesthetic into several places in my upper gum. I was also given a pair of sunglasses to wear to protect my eyes from the strong dental lamps above the chair.
As I sat in the chair Dr Marek and his dental nurse busied themselves for a few minutes to prepare for the procedure. When he was ready Dr Marek asked how I was feeling. To my surprise my heart had stopped racing and I was feeling pretty mellow. A soft dental clip was placed in my mouth so that Dr Marek could begin the procedure. At this point I felt very relaxed and resigned myself to saying goodbye to my upper teeth.
Although I was aware that work was going on in my mouth I could not feel a thing. I was not able to distinguish at all between when my twelve top teeth were extracted or when the implants were placed or when stitches were placed in my gums. I could hear a drill being used in my mouth but could not tell you on which side of my gum Dr Marek was working on as I felt absolutely nothing. In fact, as time went on, I was so relaxed that I actually ‘woke’ myself up two times with a little snore which then made me give a little laugh.
It didn’t seem very long before the procedure was finished and I was asked to sit up and rinse my mouth. I was given a face mask and taken through to another dental room just off the reception area.
I sat in the chair as the dental technician (she should be called a dental artist actually) began working on the finishing touches to my temporary bridge. When she was satisfied with the dental bridge I was again given a dental mask and asked to wait in reception while the bridge was taken down to the lab for a final polish.
Although I was still pretty numbed up I could feel the anaesthetic beginning to wear off. I’ve read many reviews online and watched many videos on YouTube about this procedure and was very skeptical about reports of feeling no pain but I have to be honest and say that I was not feeling any pain or discomfort at all.
The dental technician returned about 20-30 minutes later and I was taken back into the dental room. The temporary bridge was screwed in and white filling placed over the screws. When a mirror was placed in front of me to view the results I was really pleased. The teeth were exactly like my teeth minus the tiny spaces that were beginning to appear. The colour exactly matched my bottom teeth. I had no swelling and no bruising. To be honest I had to remind myself that I had had the procedure done because my teeth looked exactly the same as before minus the faults.
At reception I was given a guidance sheet for care after the procedure, as well as my course of antibiotics and some painkillers. I toddled off to the apartment (really nice and equipped with everything you would need) and had a good night’s sleep. My fiance couldn’t believe how well I was feeling. Although I was feeling no pain I decided to take a painkiller before going to sleep just in case.
On the Tuesday I returned to the clinic so that an impression could be taken for a gum guard that I could wear at night (I grind my teeth and apparently this could have contributed to my loosening teeth). That took about five minutes and I returned later in the afternoon to pick it up. By now the numbing had worn off and still no pain, swelling or bruising – unbelievable but fantastic!
Due to the flights, my fear of the procedure and worries about all that might go wrong with it I had arrived on the Sunday and was leaving on the Thursday morning. I know that most people stay for a shorter time but I wanted to give myself a couple of extra days in the event that something had not been right.
Therefore I again returned to the clinic on the Wednesday to see Dr Marek. As it turned out I did not need any adjustments but was able to thank him for doing such a great job. I was told I could return in two months for an impression to be taken for my permanent bridge and one month after that for a final fitting.
It has been ten days now since I had the procedure done. At no point have I had any swelling, bruising or pain. The teeth look absolutely like my previous teeth without any faults. When I run my tongue over each tooth it feels exactly like my own teeth. Although it is a dental bridge it feels like individual teeth. I cannot feel any space between the teeth and the gum-line. The teeth fit exactly into the gum-line so there is nothing over your palate at all. When I look at the back of my teeth in the mirror I cannot see (or feel) where the screws to the implants are. Anybody else inspecting inside my mouth would not be able to tell that these are not the teeth I was born with.
I am eating very soft foods (soups, scrambled eggs, sauces and rice, very soft pasta dishes, softened cereals etc.) which don’t involve chewing. I thought that this might have had an added bonus of losing some weight but then discovered that biscuits dunked in tea also count as soft food so weight-loss may be out of the window unfortunately!
Before this procedure I dreaded the thought of losing my teeth and facing a lifetime of dentures. I hated the thought that I would eventually have to take my teeth out to clean them, that I would be able to eat less and less of foods that required chewing or a good bite. I got myself upset thinking about how dentures would age me and contribute to more bone-loss which would add years to my face. I really don’t feel that now. This has been such a positive experience where Dr Marek and his team have done exactly what they said they would.
I can’t envisage any future problems but will write Part 2 and Part 3 reviews for my next visits. I know I have gone into a lot of detail here but these are the things that I wanted to know before I had the procedure done. I hope this is helpful to anyone considering having this procedure done with Dr. Marek or indeed any dental work at all.”