If you’ve thought about getting dental implants, it’s not uncommon to consider the cost of the treatment when weighing your options. There is no doubt that dental implants cost more than dentures, bridges or crowns and many people find the cost of implants to be so high that they assume they can’t afford them without doing a thorough cost-comparison. In the short term, dentures, bridges or crowns, which are used to fix or replace teeth can cost less, but in the long run, these procedures may have ongoing costs which you may incur that dental implants do not. When making a decision on dental implant treatment, it is wise to weigh all of the factors impacting both your short and long term oral health. You will need the expertise of an experienced implant restorative dentist to help you make that assessment.
Dental implants are titanium roots that replace the roots of missing or damaged natural tooth roots; permanent artificial teeth are seated on the implants to provide the patient with improved function as missing teeth are replaced. After placement and healing, the titanium posts fuse to the bone in the jaws, and act like the roots of natural teeth. While it’s possible that the artificial teeth can chip or break, just like real teeth can, they are strong, secure, and generally last a lifetime.
When you compare the function and longevity of implants to dentures or badly broken down teeth, implants win hands down. With dentures, because there are no tooth or implant roots in the bone, it gradually resorbs. Over time, the dentures need to be refit to the new bone levels by relining them. Eventually, they need replacement. Most importantly, the denture wearer is not chewing as well as he or she could. On the other hand, when implants are in the bone, its integrity is maintained because they prevent erosion, while providing the individual with dramatically improved function of a secure appliance over the denture, which moves during chewing.
A badly broken down tooth can, over time, require additional fillings, crowns, root canals, and, possibly, even extraction, ultimately followed by either a bridge or an implant supported crown. That being said, sometimes that “hopeless” tooth can be saved with a good prognosis.
In summation, implants are a very effective form of treatment for both the fully edentulous patient (dentures) and for replacement of one or more teeth (crowns and bridges). In many cases, proceeding with implant restored dentures, crowns and bridges or other restorations, while more expensive, initially, can end up being very cost effective. In order to assess the pros and cons of restoring the mouth with implants, the prospective patient needs to obtain an opinion from a practitioner who is highly experienced with restoring implants, preferably a Prosthodontist.
For our patients at our dental implant practice in Washington DC, we make it a point of discussing and weighing all treatment options with our patients. From the feedback from our patients who have been wearing implant supported crowns, bridges, and implant prostheses replacing dentures, they resoundingly state that they would go through this therapy again sooner than later, and save the additional costs that would be incurred by having this therapy at a later date. If you’ve been thinking about dental implants, have a conversation with your dental implant specialist.