When it comes to missing teeth, you have a number of options. Dentures, a dental bridge, and dental implants can all be used to replace missing teeth. While many dentists recommend dental implants, many patients are turned off by the cost. Implants can indeed cost more than other tooth replacement options, so what makes them worth it?
The Downsides to Dentures and Dental Bridges
Dentures and dental bridges have been the tried-and-true tooth replacement options for many years. Certainly, they can improve the appearance of your smile, and even restore some function. However, they may not be the most effective option. Denture adhesive can be tricky to get right. Many adhesives also contain zinc. While zinc is an important mineral found in many foods, too much zinc can cause health problems including nerve damage in the hands and feet.
Your diet is also limited when using dentures to avoid putting stress on either the dentures or your gums. Dental bridges are often more permanent than dentures, supported by a crown on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. This makes them a more functional solution than dentures. The major downside to dental bridges is that the supportive crowns require damaging two otherwise healthy teeth.
Where both these options fall short is in stimulating the jaw. Without the roots of teeth, the bone of your jaw will gradually degrade over time. Dentures and dental bridges do nothing to stimulate the jawbone, so while they address the surface problem, bone loss still occurs. Over time, bone loss can allow surrounding teeth to loosen and even fall out.
Dental Implants Provide the Answer
Dental implants are an answer to many of the problems inherent in dentures or dental bridges. Each tooth is placed individually, so implants look the most natural and even function almost like natural teeth. With dental implants, there are no dietary restrictions or special care after healing – you can eat your favorite foods and clean your implants as if they were your natural teeth.
Because dental implants are rooted by a metal socket serving the function of a root, implants even answer the problem of bone loss. In fact, implants actually bond to the living bone in a process called “osseointegration,” providing unmatched stability. For patients missing sections of teeth or even all of their teeth, we offer implant-supported dentures or bridges for the best of both worlds.
When it comes to the cost of dental implants, it is important to think of them as a long-term investment. While a cheaper dental bridge might be expected to last ten years, properly cared for implants can be expected to last thirty years or even more. Are you curious about whether the investment might be right for you? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Eskow at Bethesda Dental Implant Center in Bethesda, MD.