Some patients have reservations about the initial costs associated with dental implants, as this treatment option does have a higher price tag than alternatives like bridges or dentures. However, patients should also consider the long-term expenses associated with all of the tooth replacement methods when deciding which one to choose.
Dental implants tend to be more durable and stable than other tooth replacement methods. When you take good care of them, implants can last for decades. In comparison, dentures need to be re-lined periodically and sometimes even replaced after a number of years, which leads to additional out-of-pocket spending on the patient’s part.
Other appliances may need to be adjusted or replaced as the jaw’s contour changes following tooth loss. However, a dental implant helps to stabilize the jaw after the oral surgeon places it. The surrounding bone bonds with the implant’s titanium surface, and as result the implant becomes a de facto artificial tooth root. It helps to anchor the jaw, which otherwise erodes in the absence of a root-like structure. When the jaw erodes, its shape changes and the original appliance doesn’t fit as well.
If you are replacing a single tooth or a small number of missing teeth, it’s also important to assess the possible impact that the prosthetic will have on your remaining biological teeth. For example, a dental bridge requires crowns to be placed on surrounding teeth to support the pontic. That process can weaken the teeth and could create the possibility that the patient will need another intervention at a later date. Alternatively, dental implants stand alone and do not require any attachment to adjacent teeth.
Patients also may be tempted to postpone tooth replacement after tooth loss as a cost-saving measure, but this too may be a pennywise/pound foolish strategy. The surrounding teeth may shift to fill in the empty space, creating an unappealing misalignment in your smile. Additionally, the jawbone can wear away, posing the risk of additional tooth loss.
As you weigh your options for tooth replacement, consult with one of our oral surgeons to learn more about dental implants and whether this treatment option may be more cost-effective for you in the long run.
Call Austin Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today and set up a consultation at any one of our convenient locations.