When an adult is missing one, two, or several teeth in one area, one replacement option is a crown-&-bridge combination. This can be appealing to patients because a bridge may be partially covered by dental insurance and seems to be a less expensive choice than a bridge-supported dental implant.
But is it?
To truly weigh apples to apples, one must consider how the ‘initial’ investment of an implant may very well outweigh the long-term expenses commonly associated with the upkeep of a bridge.
Unlike a bridge that relies on the crowning of natural teeth on each side for support, an implant is positioned into your jaw bone. This restores the same, dependable foundation as that afforded by natural tooth roots. Because dental implants do not require the crowning of teeth to support replacement teeth, the integrity of natural teeth is preserved.
Additionally, most implants are designed to support more than one tooth with many able to support a bridge of two or more teeth. Because the fees involving dental implant treatment are largely based on the number of implants placed, the cost may be far less than you anticipate.
Dental implants come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate specific needs. For example, some implants are designed to be placed at unique angles to compensate for minimal bone depth. Some implant types are designed to support a single tooth or bridge of several teeth while others are positioned to hold a full arch of replacement teeth.
Dental implants also help to preserve the natural foundation of your jaw bone. This is because the lack of stimulation from tooth roots leads to loss of jaw bone mass over time. Because dental implants integrate with the structure of your bone, they help to prevent bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and partials.
Not only does bone loss affect the fit of replacement teeth, it can weaken the strength of the bite. It can also change facial appearance, leading to an appearance that is older than one’s actual age. For example, bone loss contributes to deep wrinkles around the mouth, causing the corners of the mouth to turn downward even in a smile. Jowls form as facial muscles detach from the shrinking jaw bones.
Eventually, many develop a collapsed appearance of the mouth. This creates a ‘granny look’ that contributes to an appearance far older than your actual age.
A successful outcome in dental implant treatment, however, begins with proper selection of the type of implant. In doing this, the placement doctor must be experienced in the specific type needed for the amount of bone mass present, location of implant sites, and the number of teeth to be supported. The doctor should also be skilled in choosing proper implant angles and positioning.
Dental implants are an excellent investment. They have a superb success rate and will never need a root canal or repair of cavities. They are also designed to last for a lifetime, something very few things provide!
If you are considering dental implants, increase your potential for a successful outcome by consulting with a dentist skilled in proper selection and placement. In our Shelby Township dental office, we provide all phases of dental implant treatment — from diagnosis to implant selection and placement to placement of your final teeth. We also offer oral sedation for total relaxation as well as IV sedation (referred to as “twilight sleep” or “sleep dentistry”). Our office features advanced safety equipment and trained staff to keep you comfortable and safe throughout any sedation.
Once your treatment is complete, we can also help you maintain your new smile. With our advanced training in the care and treatment of overall oral health (including treatment of gum disease and cosmetic dentistry), we have the knowledge, training and dental team to give you a healthy smile that looks and feels natural and appealing.
When you consider dental implants based on the long-term advantages and the ‘one and done’ cost, the choice is an easy one. However, we always respect our patients in the preferences that are best for their overall needs and desires. To arrange a consultation to discuss any type of tooth replacement, call 586-739-2155 or tap here to begin.