I made the statement in an earlier post that a dental implant can be a smart choice even financially. My assumption, if you are reading this, is you are looking at different treatment options and the dental implant certainly isn’t on the cheap side. So allow me to show you how a dental implant can be a wise economic decision.
If the choice is between a single implant restored as a single crown versus a 3-unit bridge (see diagrams nearby) — and the dentist says that both are reasonable options (meaning that each one has a high probability of success) then go with the dental implant, even if it’s a little more expensive. Here is why.
When you replace a missing tooth with a 3-unit bridge, you have to cut down the teeth on either side of the space in order to place essentially three crowns fused together. You have turned a one-tooth problem into a three-tooth problem. On top of this, now flossing is more difficult.
Later on, if one of the two teeth decays, it is very likely the bridge will have to be replaced. It is not uncommon for the decay to have weakened the tooth to the extent that it now is lost. In this way more teeth are lost over time.
On the other hand, should a tooth on either side of a dental implant have a problem, it is still a one-tooth problem, not affecting its neighbors. And if there is a problem with the crown on the dental implant, it can be replaced without having to remove the dental implant. You see, the dental implant was engineered in such a way that the problems that might develop from chewing stresses over time (and obviously it is impossible for the implant to ever decay) will most likely affect parts that are easy to reach and replace.
Therefore, the economy of the dental implant will be experienced by the patient in the years to come. Oh, and did I tell you that the dental implant has the longest track record of any restoration in dentistry? It’s well over 25 years and counting. The 3-unit bridge, on the other hand, has an average life-span of about ten years.