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Monday, 24 February 2020

Are dental implants a cost-effective treatment option?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Dental implants are a last resort treatment option and are recommended only when a patient is missing teeth, or the tooth cannot be repaired for the long term with other treatments such as root canal treatment. The question of whether dental implants are cost-effective is a good one. Dental implants themselves are not cheap. A single tooth dental implant made of titanium will cost you $4000. This includes a porcelain crown that is attached to the implant itself to replace the missing tooth. A patient that is suitable for dental implants may also be considering other options such as dental bridges or dentures.

The alternatives to a dental implant, like dentures or dental bridges, are of course of a lower immediate cost. The cost per tooth for a dental bridge for example is $1500. The cost of dentures can vary, depending on the amount of missing teeth, between $1000 and $2600. So just from these prices how cost-effective are dental implants as a treatment option?

Dentures and dental bridges are not designed to be permanent solutions for your dental health. They are effective treatment options, but they will not last forever and need to be repaired or replaced over time. A dental implant is designed to be a long term permanent solution. There are costs involved for the maintenance and replacement of dental bridges and dentures that you do not need to consider with dental implants. Dental implant crown components may need to be replaced over time, but provided you maintain good dental health, your dental implant itself is designed to last a lifetime.

Another option is to consider going without any treatment and just having missing teeth. This is not ideal. When you have an empty tooth socket, over time you risk bone loss in the jaw which can lead to problems for the adjacent teeth. It’s best to seek some form of treatment for missing teeth. Keeping severely damaged teeth also creates a higher risk of tooth decay and infections.

So, if you need to reduce your immediate costs for the short and medium term, a dental bridge or set of dentures may be the right choice for you. However the most cost-effective treatment for irreparably damaged teeth, and missing teeth, is dental implants.

Other advantages of dental implants

Missing teeth can cause your face to appear different, this can be caused by a sunken look around the areas where the teeth are missing. Dental implants can correct this by replacing the original tooth.

Dental implants are built to last and are the most natural way to replace teeth. You could have your dental implants for the rest of your life provided you take care of them with good dental hygiene.

A dental bridge can put strain on neighbouring teeth. This can lead to further dental issues with them. Dental implants do not put strain on neighbouring teeth.  Bridges also are tricky to clean as teeth are joined together.  Implants can be cleaned like normal teeth.

Dentures can also put stain on adjacent teeth and the underlying oral soft tissues. They can move in the mouth and rub on the supporting structures and cause discomfort. With dental implants none of these issues arise as they are permanently fixed in place.