When you visit a dental clinic for replacement of a missing tooth, you’re given options like bridges and dental implants to substitute it. While bridges seem financially acceptable treatment modality, implants are 3-4 times costlier than that. If both serve the same purpose of filling the gap, where does the difference lie? Before reviewing it, let’s know why replacing a missing tooth is critical for overall health.
Why Replacing a Missing Tooth Important?
You may lose a tooth or get it extracted due to pain, caries, trauma or periodontal diseases. While getting a tooth extracted apparently solves the problem, it starts a whole series of unwanted consequences like:
Shifting and collapsing of surrounding teeth in the gap
Periodontal diseases / Gum Diseases
Loss of facial muscles support / Sunken face
Disruption of distributed occlusion forces to remaining teeth, leading to TMJ pain (extra force on surrounding teeth) and others.
Thus, having a complete set of teeth in dental arch is essential for proper functionality and appearance, and dental implants fulfil the requisite.
So, why choosing dental implants?
Benefits of implants over other treatment modalities:
Durability: An implant lasts lifetime!
Natural looking: The next best thing to your natural tooth is a dental implant.
Minimally Invasive - No grinding of adjacent teeth for support
Prevents bone loss of jaws and other teeth.
Predictable: Dental implants are more predictable than other modes of missing tooth replacement.
Dental Implants: What Do You Pay For?
The cost is made up by 3 things:
Dental implant post
Crown (the visible portion resembling natural tooth which sits on the top of implant)
The time, skill and resources which make the treatment successful.
Firstly, you pay for the implant posts made of ‘Titanium’ metal which is expensive in itself. Titanium is a non-reactive metal and is the most acceptable to human body. It’s safe, light-weight and forms good connection with living tissues and becomes a part of bone surrounding it, acting like a natural tooth. This property makes implant strong enough to withstand occlusal forces for life. You can’t afford a cheap metal to be placed in your body that won’t last long and create post-operation complications requiring repair or replacement. When secured to the jaw bones, dental implants not only restore function and appearance of any natural tooth but also stops further bone loss which is a big advantage over dental bridges. The implant is followed by a crown which resembles natural tooth in color, shape and function.
The second part of treatment cost which is often unheeded, is the surgical procedure. Placing a dental implant is a surgical procedure which requires experience and training. Positioning an implant in the correct place without damaging nearby nerves and other structures is a work of precision and skill which ensures a successful treatment. A failed implant treatment that doesn’t heal to the bone may result in pain and other complications, in addition to the wasted time and resources. A dental surgeon and assistant go to stretches to provide a strong replacement of missing tooth which stays with you for life.
Thus, a dental implant may appear an expensive mode of treatment but it’s much more than just filling a gap among your teeth. It’s a safe, value for money procedure which enables you to restore a missing tooth’s functions and esthetics in the most natural way possible, also preventing further deterioration of oral structures associated with tooth loss.
Remember, dentistry is NOT expensive, neglect is!
Dr. Akanksha Abhishek
Chief Dental Consultant
The Tooth Doctors