Making the right treatment choice is vital to prevent needless return trips to the dentist and provide you with the best possible outcome.
The following factors are essential to consider when selecting your dental treatment.
- Treatment Length
Without a doubt, a massive part of a person’s self-assurance comes from their smile, so getting a missing tooth fixed can be a huge confidence booster. However, with the advancement of dental technology, there is often a choice in treatment options that can leave patients wondering what the best choice is.
The two treatment options we will compare are dental bridges and dental implants. This article will explore some of the factors that can be considered for both of these treatments and help you decide which you will choose to get those gorgeous pearly whites back on display.
What is a dental bridge?
A traditional dental bridge, as its name suggests, bridges the gap between two teeth. The adjacent teeth are called abutments and are used as placeholders to cement the bridge in place.
These abutments are filed down so that crowns can be placed over them, which readily adhere to the bridged tooth, called the pontic.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are inserted through a surgical procedure during which a metal screw-like structure, called a post, is placed in the jawbone.
The post acts as an anchor for the crown, which looks and functions exactly as a natural tooth.
Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges Cost Compared
Cost can be a significant contributing factor to deciding which dental treatment option is better for you. For those without insurance, this might be the most critical consideration of all.
A dental bridge, which typically is costed as a 3-unit bridge, can set you back between $3000-5000, depending on your specific case and what materials are needed for your treatment. On the other hand, dental implants can be slightly more expensive, ranging upward of $4000 per tooth.
While cost is essential to account for, it’s also imperative to consider the long term benefits that dental implants have. Tooth implants can last for over 20 years, while many patients experience more complications with their dental bridges.
Dental work can be time consuming, costly, and painful, so no one wants to be sitting in a dentist’s chair frequently. That’s why it’s vital to contemplate how long your chosen treatment will last you.
While dental bridges are relatively cheaper than implants, conservatively usually only last around 7-8 years. They may last up to 15 years with proper care, but it’s often better to assume the worst-case scenario when looking at treatment options.
Dental implants are a worthy long term investment, as they can conservatively last upward of 10 years. With the proper care, a suitable implant can last up to 25 years. The longevity of the implant is also dependent on the condition of your bone structure before treatment and should be discussed with your dentist beforehand.
Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider is how good your replacement tooth looks alongside your natural teeth. If the result is not aesthetically pleasing, you may feel as though you never had treatment at all.
When done by a good physician, Bridges can have a natural appearance when they are cosmetically focused. However, it should not be taken for granted that every dentist will get this right. Bridges can often yellow with time if they are not cared for correctly.
Dental implants are designed to match the shape and colour of your natural teeth and precisely manufactured to resist staining. A clear glaze covers the implant that prevents any substance that enters the mouth from affecting the tooth. It is possible that if there is damage to this glaze, staining might occur.
Length of Treatment
Some of us are not patient enough to endure a lengthy treatment process, so this may be a deal-breaker when considering various treatment options.
Dental bridges are often a quick fix. The initial process entails preparing the abutments and getting a mould of the treatment space. This impression is then sent to a dental lab to prepare the crowns, and a temporary bridge is placed for the patient in the interim.
After a few weeks, the materials should be available at the dentist’s practice to be permanently placed. In some cases, the dentist may choose not to forever cement in the bridge immediately to make sure that it is placed comfortably in the mouth. You may be called back after a few weeks to get feedback on this to adhere completely.
On the contrary, a dental implant can take a few months and several trips to the dental practice to achieve the outcome. The consultation happens first, where x-rays are taken, and the jaw is assessed for eligibility. During the surgery, the dentist will then place the titanium post. This is left in for a few months to allow the bone to regenerate around the base, causing it to be permanently rooted in the mouth.
When the dentist is satisfied with the outcome of this process, called osseointegration, an abutment is placed, which will be used to hold the crown in place. While the gums heal over the abutment, impressions are sent to prepare the crown, which will then be inserted once received.
What’s the right choice?
As evidence, there are various pros and cons to each treatment choice, which is why these factors need to be considered alongside each other and not in isolation. Different people have different priorities, so it might be helpful to evaluate which factors are most important to you and select the best choice from there.
Lastly, a significant variable is an eligibility, which a physician can only assess. Now that you are equipped with more information on the benefits of each treatment, it’s advisable to book a consultation to get a professional opinion on what which option you would qualify for and what might be better for your long-term health.