Dental implants are among the available procedures that can be used in the case of tooth loss. Dentures and bridges are other methods that can be employed. However, when it comes to making a decision, a few factors should be considered.
When it comes to installing the implants, dentures or bridges, the implants will take the longest time and will involve the most complicated procedure. The dental implants will require two to three appointments; there is need for two to six months between the first and the second appointment, as this time is needed for the titanium screw to be integrated in the alveolar bone. If the patient doesn’t have enough alveolar bone prior to implanting the titanium screw, bone grafting will be needed. This may also require two to six months to be accepted by the body. Consequently, the installation of the dental implants may take between three and 12 months.
In the case of dentures, these can be installed in two appointments, but these may be done within one week. A cast will be prepared after the patient’s teeth and a technician will prepare the dentures. The dental bridges will also require two dental appointments, but these can also be made within one week. The dentist will take an impression of the missing teeth and the surrounding teeth and will polish the teeth that are situated immediately near the gap. The technician will prepare the bridges, which will be made up of two crowns for the neighboring teeth and one, two or more artificial teeth that will replace the missing ones.
Dental implants are the only option that will restore full function and can be chewed on properly. Dentures and bridges may move and may cause discomfort.
The durability of the dental implants, bridges and dentures may depend on the lifestyle of the patient. However, all of these solutions for missing teeth may deteriorate in time. Dental implants are considered the most durable (in some cases, these may last for a lifetime). On average, bridges last for 10 years, while dentures may be worn for 10 to 15 years.
Maintenance and Cleaning
When it comes to maintenance and cleaning, dental implants are much easier to clean and maintain, as the patient can clean between each tooth in part and the implants can be treated just like normal teeth. The dentures and bridges will require additional attention and cleaning, and if these are ignored, the patient may experience gum irritation and even infections.
The costs of dentures may be the lowest (between $1000 and $5000 per arch, depending on the fees of the technician and the materials used). The costs of one single dental implant are between $3,000 and $5,000. These are the costs of a dental bridge (which involves 2 crowns and 1 or 2 artificial teeth).
All in all, dental implants are the most expensive solution, but they are also more durable and resistant.