When deciding upon replacing a missing tooth, one of the first things most people consider is how much the different options cost. An equally important question one should consider however is how long the option will actually last. Asking both of these questions gives a better indication of the value. After all, what is getting something for half off if it doesn’t actually work or last?
In addition to a dental implant, a dental bridge is an option for replacing missing teeth. When comparing the cost of a dental bridge to a dental implant, a dental implant is typically a larger investment. While a dental bridge can range from $3-4K dollars, an implant can be a $4-6K investment. Bridges are faster to make while implants take more time to complete. When only considering the financial factor, one might conclude that a dental bridge is a better value.
How long will each last? It always depends on how well someone takes care of it. One way we can level the playing field is by taking a sample of people that have had a dental bridge and a sample of people that have had a dental implant, wait 10 years and see how many treatments are still in place. Studies very similar to this one show that the survival rate (how many that are still functioning and in place) for dental bridges are 50% while the survival rate of dental implants are 90-98%.
So at 10 years, assuming you have a dental bridge go bad, you could wind up having to replace both the supporting teeth with dental implants and a brand new bridge. So now instead of just paying for one implant you have paid for two implants and two bridges. This puts us at $14-18K for half the cases. For many considering this, it makes the bridge more of a temporary option. All of these scenarios are based on averages and a lot of assumptions obviously. However, many have learned that, over time, a dental bridge is more of a risk than an implant. With anything in the dental field there are many variables that might make the dental bridge make more sense but just looking at the cost could bring you to a short sighted conclusion.
Dental Implants as Investment
Many times people come to our office to gather pricing for restoring their mouth with a dental implant. With multiple implants the figure can easily exceed 5 figures. That’s as much as a car! But here is a question, which is a better value? When you buy a car you don’t always buy a used car just because it is cheaper. You have to consider the cost of maintenance and how long it will last. The average car costs around $33,560 according to the Kelley Blue Book while the average length of time drivers keep their vehicle according to research by R.L.Polk is less than 6 years. Even at the low end, a 90% survival rate at 10 years for a dental implant really makes it a great value.
Yet how many times per day do we use our teeth? Well typically 3, and we will be doing that everyday, 3 times a day, for the rest of our lives. Something to consider.
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