Throughout history mankind has tried to replace teeth with implanted material, from bamboo pegs, to ivory, seashells, and precious metals. The first “modern” dental implants were placed in the United States beginning in the early 1980s, and this method of permanent tooth replacement has continued to gain popularity ever since. However, the potential cost of dental implants causes concern for some individuals in the Willoughby Hills area. Dr. Michael Stern shares this information to help patients make informed dental healthcare decisions.
Comparing tooth replacement options
While dental implants may be utilized to anchor a dental bridge or stabilize a removable denture, the primarily use is to restore a single missing tooth. Let’s compare a dental implant to other sound dental solutions for that purpose.
Removable partial denture – Sometimes simply called a “partial,” or referred to as a “flipper,” a partial denture holds one or more artificial teeth in a layer of a pink plastic that fits behind your existing teeth. The denture is held in place with metal clasps secured to back teeth. Up front, this is usually the most affordable option for tooth replacement. However, partial dentures must be replaced periodically. They require daily cleaning, separate from brushing and flossing your natural teeth. While the denture does restore appearance, the lack of stability may limit chewing function.
Crown and bridge unit – A bridge consists of a pontic, or artificial tooth, in a ceramic or metal framework. Teeth on either side of the missing one are reduced and shaped, then fitted with crowns that hold the bridge. A dental bridge is not removable, so it takes a bit of flossing dexterity to keep it clean. The cost of a bridge can vary greatly depending on the placement, type of bridge, materials, and how many teeth are replaced. Costhelper.com indicates a range from $1,100 to as much as $12,000. With good oral hygiene, a bridge can last up to 15 years.
Dental implant – An implant actually replaces the root of a missing tooth with a cylinder made of strong, biocompatible titanium or zirconia. Bone fuses with the implant, providing a solid foundation for a porcelain crown. With usual good oral hygiene, an implant can last a lifetime. It looks completely natural, feels normal in the mouth, and restores chewing function. The cost of a dental implant depends on complexity (some situations require bone graft or sinus lift procedures), but it is typically comparable to a good quality dental bridge.
There is no single tooth restoration method that is right for every patient. Dr. Stern urges you to consider the value of your smile and of your health when you consider dental restorations. Then call Smile Brighter Willoughby Hills at (440) 210-0999 to talk about your options.