Long term cost efficiency of dental implants vs bridges & dentures

dental implants

Dental Implants vs Bridges and Dentures

Dental implants are known to be more expensive than alternative treatments, either it is a 3-teeth bridge vs a single dental implant or a partial/full removable denture vs a fixed implant denture. However, in the long term they may be the most cost efficient treatment.

Long term cost efficiency of dental implants vs bridges & dentures

The high dental implants cost is the largest obstacle for many patients who want to replace one or more missing teeth. Many of them do not prefer dental implants due to their higher cost despite their aesthetic and functional superiority.

When you want to compare the cost of dental implants vs alternative treatments, you should not focus only on the price you have to pay now for performing the treatment, but it is best to consider the long term cost efficiency of each treatment.

The most important factors you have to consider when comparing alternative treatments are:

  • success rate (short term)

    When you are getting a new dental bridge or denture, you can be certain that it will be ready and fitted at about 2 weeks. Even if something goes wrong and the bridge or denture does not fit properly the dentist will correct the problem at no additional cost. With dental implants there is no 100% guarantee that after the (at least) 3 months required for their placement, they will be functioning properly. Dental implants sometimes fail.

    The success rate of dental implants in healthy natural bone is over 95%, though this falls to between 85 and 90% in grafted bone. The failure rate of dental implants is 2.5 times higher in smokers compared to non-smokers. Experienced implant dentists have success rate records of around 99% for patients with healthy jaw bone and gums.

  • how long will they last

    After a dental implant has been placed and osseointegrated properly, it is expected to last for a lifetime. The only requirement for the longevity of an implant is that the patient maintains good dental health with proper daily oral hygiene.

    Dental bridges need replacement in about ten years on average, either due to bridge failure or adjacent teeth failure. Dentures will also need replacement (or modification at least) in about ten years because they will start not to fit properly due to jaw bone loss. This means that for comparing properly the cost of dental implants vs a bridge or denture in a 20 years horizon you might have to count for double the cost of alternative types of dental restorations such as a bridge or denture.

  • other dental health implications

    In order to place a dental bridge the supporting teeth even if they are totally healthy have to be cut down to place the post for the bridge. Except of the damage to a healthy tooth, they become more susceptible to tooth decay. Many patients find it difficult to clean the areas around and under dental bridges allowing the accumulation of dental plaque and increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Jaw bone in the area of the missing tooth has the tendency to weaken and deteriorate. This could cause increased mobility problems to the teeth that support the bridge. If one of them becomes loose then the structural integrity of the bridge is in danger.

    Jaw bone deterioration and loss is also the major problem with removable dentures increasing the speed of the aging process. A dental implant work just as a natural tooth without any special care needs and without any damage to adjacent teeth. These additional costs of restoring decay or gum disease problems potentially caused by the restoration itself or for maintaining partial or full removable dentures should also be considered when you check their long term cost efficiency vs dental implants treatment.

  • aesthetic and functional result

    Dental implants provide a much better aesthetic and functional results compared to alternative dental restorations. Especially the fixed implant dentures help the patient to maintain their usual eating habits and natural appearance and speaking without the embarrassment often caused by removable dentures.

The Winner: Dental Implants

Dental implants are usually more expensive than other dental restorations but in the long term they worth the initial investment. The abilities of dental implants to prevent bone loss, maintain better dental health and keep dental restorations secure over the course of a lifetime far outweigh the initial investment. Dental health complications involved with other dental restorations like bridges and removable dentures emphasize the better long term cost efficiency of dental implants.

Dental implants can provide a permanent solution to problems of missing teeth that despite the high initial treatment cost can help patients to avoid the long term costs associated with less permanent options for tooth restoration procedures. Getting implants offers a much better quality of life and they can actually reduce the cost of maintaining a healthy mouth over the course of a lifetime.

next page -> How Can You Get Dental Implant Insurance Coverage?

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Last update: 01/01/2017