If you are missing a single adult tooth, then you may want to have it replaced. Individuals are typically embarrassed by missing teeth and they also do not like the feel of the open space when eating. If these sorts of issues describe your situation, then you will have several different cosmetic options available to you. Two of the most popular include bridges and dental implants. Bridges are cheaper and easier to secure, but dental implants have several benefits that bridges do not.
They Stimulate the Jaw
If you are an older individual, then you may have heard your dentist talk about bone loss across the jaw. Bone loss occurs as you age for many reasons. If you are a woman, then the bones may not be able to retain as many minerals as they once did due to the way your post-menopausal body functions. General osteoporosis problems can contribute to bone loss too. Bone loss is also a problem when bacteria travel under the gums. They create toxic substances that eat away at the jawbone. If you have deep gum pockets or gum recession, then bone loss will be more substantial.
Bone loss can lead to the loss of one or several teeth. However, the tooth roots that sit in the jaw are still intact and able to stimulate the bone cells. Stimulation helps the bones to go through regular remodeling where old tissues are lost and new ones grow.
If you opt for a bridge, then stimulation will stop happening across the jaw in the area where the tooth was lost. This can create a deep ridge in the jaw that can start to affect the other teeth. Since a bridge has two anchor points, the anchor teeth may start to weaken and oral health can continue to deteriorate. If a dental implant is secured instead, then a deep root will be placed in the jaw. The root will place stress on the bone and stimulate it. In other words, bone loss will be stopped in the region and you are more likely to retain the overall health of your jaw.
If you do decide on a dental implant, you should know that the jaw will need to heal for some time after implantation. If you place too much stress on the jaw before the implant has time to attach to the jaw, through a process called osseointegration, then you can do more harm to your jaw than good. During the initial healing process, new cells will attach themselves to the implant root, but they will be too weak to sustain pressure and stress. Pressure can cause the sensitive bone to break free of the root, so make sure to follow your doctor's orders carefully when it comes to healing.
Crowns Can Be Replaced at a Lower Cost
The upfront cost to receive a dental implant is much higher than that of a bridge. It can cost about $5,000 in total to have an implant secured in the jaw. A bridge can cost upwards of $1,500. However, if you currently have dental insurance, then a large portion of this cost will be covered by the insurance provider. Also, you may need to have the implant crown or the bridge device replaced in the future. A dental bridge can last 5 to 15 years. A dental implant is rated to last 10 to 15 years.
When the replacement is necessary, you will likely need to pay the full $1,500 for the bridge, but you will only need to pay for the replacement of the implant crown in most cases. This crown is usually a small fraction of the cost of a bridge. If you happen to lose your dental insurance at some point, then the out of pocket expenses for bridge replacement can be immense, especially if your bridge only last closer to the five year mark than the 15 year one.
Also, if bridge failure does occur, then there is a chance that the device cannot be replaced. Sometimes the strength of the anchor teeth reduces significantly. In this case, you may need an implant or a partial denture instead, and this means an even larger cost.
To learn more about your options, contact a local cosmetic dentistry clinic.