Considerations Of Dental Implants Vs. Bridges Or Dentures

Posted on Mar 20, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The upfront costs of dental implants are typically the only obstacle for some patients who want to replace missing teeth. Although the long term cost efficiency of dental implants makes them a better option than other tooth replacement alternatives, dental implants do have a failure rate. Here are tips to help you enjoy a successful outcome and an excellent investment:

Select Your Dentist Carefully: Dental implants must be selected and placed properly, and then carefully maintained (at home and through regular dental check-ups). The success rate of dental implants is over 95%, although smokers have a failure rate 2.5 times higher than that of non-smokers. Experienced implant dentists have around a 99% success rate, which is why it’s important to ask about the implant training and success rate of your doctor.

Longevity: A dental implant that has been selected, placed and maintained properly should last for a lifetime. A bridge will need replacement in an average of 10 years on average. Dentures will also need replacing or modification in about ten years because bone loss changes the fit of the denture. This is caused by the absence of tooth roots in the jaw and pressure of dentures. Looking at a 20 year period, your bridge or denture costs have now doubled, whereas the dental implants are worry-free.

Protecting Oral Health: In order to support a bridge, healthy natural teeth have to be cut down to serve as anchors for the bridge. This creates more susceptibility for tooth decay. Because it can be more difficult to clean around bridges, the accumulation of plaque increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Jaw bone loss is also a problem with removable dentures, which can lead to an aged appearance far beyond one’s actual years. Dental implants function the same as natural teeth without special care or requiring the support of adjacent teeth. The additional costs of treating decay or gum disease caused by a partial or full removable denture must be factored in when calculating the long term cost efficiency compared to the one-time expense of dental implants.

Enhanced Overall Health & Confidence: Dental implants give a natural look and feel while restoring a dependable, comfortable bite and chewing function. Trying to eat with removable dentures is often over-shadowed with fears of embarrassment. Those who wear removable dentures also have a tendency to select soft food that dissolve easily and quickly in the mouth. Thus, they often deprive themselves of fiber and protein-rich foods and satisfying, vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables.

Bottom Line: Initially, dental implants typically cost more than other dental restorations but are the clear winners when it comes to the investment. Because dental implants prevent bone loss, enhance dental (and overall) health and keep replacement teeth more secure for a lifetime, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial expense. Dental implants can also enhance your quality of life and actually lower the costs to maintain a healthy mouth over the course of your lifetime.

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