Dental implant vs. dentures vs bridge
“Dental implants are so expensive.”
This is one of most common things I hear as a dentist. The fact of the matter is that they are expensive relative to their size. You see, it’s just human nature to think of something very small as not very valuable however on the other hand, something large like a car is worth a lot more…Now, obviously there are some exceptions…such as a diamond engagement ring.
I’ll aim to basically address the statement based on 2 major factors that influence the perceived value of dental implants.
The fact of the matter is that dental implants seem expensive because inherently, people don’t often have a high emotional attachment to a tooth, particularly when it is at the back of the mouth i.e. it doesn’t contribute the smile.
Secondly, because you don’t see it on a daily basis i.e. like a diamond ring, you ascribe less value to it because well, it just doesn’t really feature in your visual field on a regular basis. However, something you use such as a watch is regularly observed and seen so you determine it to be “of value”. However, with a tooth, you don’t really “see” it. After the dental implant is in place after it’s initially placed, you start taking it for granted i.e. you start forgetting what it was like to NOT have a tooth. As a result, a dental implant is valued less than a diamond engagement ring.
The fact of the matter is that the dental implant takes a pounding on a daily basis for many years i.e. dentists expect a dental implant and crown to last for at least 15-20 years. In a water-filled i.e. saliva environment like the mouth, it’s amazing that they last as long as they do! If it’s a front tooth replacement, it contributes to a full smile day-in and day-out for a very long time.
Now that we have addressed cost as a major inhibitor of dental implant treatment, let’s overview the options for tooth replacement.
A “bridge” is shown below
See how it relies on the support of 2 teeth on either side of the gap. This means that if and when the bridge fails (and everything in dentistry has a finite lifespan), it could result in the loss of both supporting teeth. Consider this a high-risk, high return option. Although you get an immediate tooth replacement, the “late-stage” i.e. normal and expected, failure of the bridge is an important factor to consider.
To be honest, the other option which is a denture isn’t really the best option however for those who are cost conscious, a plate should be considered a “long-term temporary solution”. Modern dentistry has come a long way and dentures are a treatment option from the 1800s!
There are some other single tooth replacement options however they are beyond the scope of this article. Pop into your local friendly neighbourhood dentist to talk about these options and the options I’ve covered in this article. Even better, come see us at Enso Dental North Perth for conscious dental treatment planning (thinking about you in a holistic manner than a specific tooth manner).
Dr. Rahul Reddy