Some patients may be put off by the upfront cost of dental implants, but making a treatment decision solely based on this consideration is short-sighted. When comparing dental implants with conventional appliances, like a fixed dental bridge or standard dentures, it’s important to look at the performance of the appliances over time and incorporate that into a cost analysis.
Durability of Dental Implants
Dental implants are unique because they are structurally complete. A dental implant is a small titanium cylinder that an oral surgeon inserts into a patient’s jaw. Because the titanium is biocompatible, the bone tissue can integrate the dental implant into the jawbone structure. As such, dental implants become permanent fixtures in the jaw and are able function similarly to biological tooth roots.
Therefore, dental implants prevent the jawbone erosion that typically occurs after tooth loss. The shape of the jaw remains constant, so the implant-supported appliance can stay in place for decades as long as the patient follows an adequate maintenance regimen.
Cost Comparisons Over Time: Dental Implants vs. Conventional Prosthetics
Unfortunately, the jawbone atrophy that progresses after tooth loss will cause a conventional appliance to lose its fit as the years pass. As this occurs, patients will need to have their appliances re-fitted and ultimately replaced, at their own expense. These costs can add up over the years. Additionally, a fixed dental bridge requires crowns to be placed on a patient’s tooth, and those crowns may also need to be replaced if something happens to the underlying tooth. That creates additional expenses.
It’s also important to consider the potential long-term costs of not replacing the tooth at all, which is an option considered by many patients, especially if the missing tooth is not in a highly visible area of the smile. However, if you do not replace that tooth, the surrounding teeth will likely shift out of position to fill in the empty gap. That can create the need for expensive orthodontic treatment and expose those teeth to additional stress that they are not equipped to handle.
For more detailed information on the anticipated costs of dental implants in your case, schedule an initial evaluation. Call Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates today to set up your appointment.