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Dental Implants Vs Bridges: Which Is More Cost Effective?

Comparing dental implants and bridges can sometimes be difficult, as both solutions come with their own benefits. The choice mainly depends on your particular dental condition and goals. For instance, implants offer a great solution for missing teeth, while bridges are less invasive and provide quick options for filling gaps. The deciding factors often involve procedure, cost, longevity, and results.

This guide gives a deeper understanding of dental implants and bridges to help you make an informed decision.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements inserted directly into the jawbone. Comprising durable titanium posts, they are often preferred for individuals with missing teeth. Dental implants provide a secure base for replacement teeth, allowing them to function like natural teeth.

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges, on the other hand, are prosthetic devices that are used to fill gaps caused by one or more missing teeth. They are anchored on either side by natural teeth or implants, which support them. Bridges fill empty spaces and prevent the remaining teeth from shifting.

Dental Bridges Vs Implants: Comparing Procedures

Dental Implant Procedure

Step 1: Initial Consultation

The initial step toward having a dental implant procedure is a consultation with your dentist. During this meeting, the dentist will assess your suitability for the procedure, which might involve taking X-rays or scans to evaluate the state of your jawbone.

Step 2: Placement of the Titanium Post

If your dentist determines that there is enough bone support, the next step is implanting the titanium post into the jaw. If there is insufficient bone support, a bone graft is usually required, which can result in a lengthier and more invasive process.

Step 3: Healing Period

After implanting the titanium post, a healing period follows where osseointegration occurs. This is where the bone fuses with the implant, creating a secure base for replacement teeth.

Step 4: Placement of Prosthetic Tooth

Once the bone has sufficiently healed, a prosthetic false tooth is securely attached to the implant. This provides a natural-looking and functioning tooth replacement.

Step 5: Follow-Ups and Care

Regular follow-ups go alongside your daily oral hygiene routine after the procedure, ensuring the longevity and success of the implant. With the right oral care, your dental implant can function as a natural tooth and potentially last a lifetime.

Dental Bridges Procedure

Step 1: Initial Consultation

It begins with a thorough dental examination, including scans or X-rays, so the dental professional can assess your oral health and discuss your dental goals. This step will determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental bridges.

Step 2: Preparation of Supporting Teeth

The second step involves reshaping the anchoring teeth on either side of the gap. This is done by removing part of their enamel to create a solid foundation for the dental bridge.

Step 3: Impression and Temporary Bridge Application

After preparing the teeth, an impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory, where your custom bridge is created. Meanwhile, you’ll be fitted with a temporary bridge to wear while waiting for the permanent dental bridge to be crafted.

Step 4: Final Fitting

Once your permanent bridge is ready, you return to the dental office for the final fitting. Your dentist will carefully remove the temporary bridge and cement the new one into place, restoring the appearance and functionality of your teeth.

Step 5: Care and Maintenance

After your dentist has cemented the permanent bridge, you must practice good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups. While dental bridges can last up to 15 years with proper care, the overall health of the supporting teeth and gums can impact their longevity.

Bridge vs Dental Implants: Cost Considerations

Regarding the bridge vs dental implants in terms of cost, the dental implant procedure usually has a higher initial cost due to its complexity. However, they may prove more cost-effective in the long run due to their longevity and less maintenance.

Dental Implants

  • Initial Cost. Dental implants generally cost more upfront than dental bridges. This is due to the complexity of the procedure, which often includes bone grafting if there isn’t sufficient bone for the implant to secure.
  • Long-Term Cost. Despite the higher initial cost, implants can be more cost-effective in the long run. This is because they often last much longer than bridges – potentially a lifetime with proper care.
  • Maintenance. While implants are not prone to cavities, proper oral hygiene is still required to maintain the gums and bone around the implant. Costs associated with routine dental cleanings and check-ups can factor into the total lifetime costs of dental implants.
  • Potential Complications. While rare, complications such as implant failure, infection, or bone loss could result in additional costs.
  • Insurance Coverage. Not all dental insurance plans cover the cost of implants, so it’s crucial to check with your insurance provider.
  • Maintenance of Adjacent Teeth. Since dental implants do not rely on the support of adjacent teeth, there are no additional costs associated with maintaining the health of these teeth as there may be with bridges.
  • Replacement Cost. Should the crown of the implant (not the implant itself, which is surgically placed in the bone) need to be replaced, the cost could be an additional factor. However, this is generally a less complex procedure than the initial implant placement and comes at a lower cost.

Dental Bridges

  • Initial Cost. Generally, dental bridges cost less upfront than dental implants. The procedure is less complicated and doesn’t usually require any surgical procedures such as bone grafting.
  • Long-Term Cost. While bridges may have a lower initial cost, they typically last less than dental implants. Most dental bridges last between 7 and 15 years, which means they may need to be replaced multiple times throughout your life, adding to the overall cost.
  • Maintenance. Dental bridges also require regular maintenance and good oral hygiene to ensure longevity. The cost of professional cleanings, check-ups, and potential treatments for cavities or gum disease can add to the total cost.
  • Potential Complications. If the teeth supporting the bridge become compromised due to decay or disease, additional dental treatment would be required, adding to the overall cost.
  • Insurance Coverage. Dental bridges are often covered by dental insurance but vary by provider and plan. It’s essential to check with your insurance company to understand what will be covered.
  • Impact on Adjacent Teeth. Since a dental bridge relies on the teeth adjacent to the gap to support it, keeping these teeth healthy is essential. However, the procedure may weaken these teeth over time, possibly leading to additional treatments and associated costs.
  • Replacement Cost. The cost of replacing a dental bridge can be significant, particularly if the supporting teeth need treatment or if multiple bridges need to be replaced over time. Again, while the initial cost of a bridge might be lower, the lifetime cost can increase with these factors in mind.

Bridge vs Dental Implants: Comparing Longevity and Results

Dental implants, with the proper care, can last a lifetime. They maintain bone health, preventing loss and functioning like natural teeth. They don’t rely on adjacent teeth, which minimizes potential dental health issues.

On the other hand, dental bridges typically last between 7 to 15 years with proper dental care. They effectively replace missing teeth and restore the aesthetic appeal of your smile. However, the health and condition of the adjacent teeth and gums that support the bridge can impact its longevity, sometimes necessitating earlier replacement or additional treatments.

Making the Decision

The choice between dental implants vs a bridge is highly individual, depending on your circumstances, dental health, and long-term goals. Consider dental implants if you prioritize a durable, long-lasting solution to maintain bone health and not affect surrounding healthy teeth. However, suppose you want an immediate and less invasive replacement for missing teeth and are comfortable with possible alterations to adjacent teeth. In that case, a dental bridge might be a better option for you.

Restore Your Smile: Schedule Your Dental Consultation Today

Whether it’s implants or bridges, the choice comes down to your circumstances, goals, and budget. Both these dental procedures have the potential to bring back a healthy, confident smile if performed by experienced dental professionals.

Do you need help deciding the right choice for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our team of professionals is ready to assist you in achieving the best possible smile. Don’t postpone addressing your dental health concerns. Restore your beautiful smile today.

Dr. Mann_pp

Dr. Russell Mann graduated from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston Texas and has owned and operated his dental practice in Manchester New Hampshire for over 20 years.

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