What would you do if your dentist told you that you had a few teeth that needed to be removed? If you’re like most of us you would probably freak out completely as you pictured life with a gaping hole in your smile. (For better or worse, it’s an image most Americans associate with a lack of education.)
Of course, these days, there are plenty of alternatives for tooth replacement that are surprisingly comparable to natural teeth. The main two choices in this situation are dental implants and bridgework.
The decision as to which one of these you’ll pursue depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is money. You’ll also have to factor in how much time and, we’re sorry to say, how much pain you can endure. Though today’s dentist’s do everything they can to insure their patient’s comfort, all dental work involves some degree of pain.
If you’re in need of a replacement tooth, or teeth, here’s the rundown of the big advantages and disadvantages of dental implants and bridgework.
Advantages of Implants
When it comes to natural appearances and easy maintenance, dental implants are tough to beat.
They can be installed by almost any cosmetic dentist, but they’re definitely not cheap. In fact, even with insurance you’ll still be looking at over $1,000 per tooth. Without the help of insurance we’re talking something more like $3,000 per tooth.
You’ll also find that, in most cases, quality implants require a process of bone grafting that can take months and months to really take. That’s because the base of the implant needs time to actually attach itself to the bone.
All that patience, and money, pay off with a tooth replacement that feels as much like the real thing as you’re likely going to find anywhere.
Advantages of Bridges
For those of us who don’t have thousands of dollars laying around to pay for new teeth (or are unwilling to finance them) bridgework is the next best tooth replacement. Most bridges can be made in a fairly short time and you don’t necessarily need to visit a specialist to get the work done.
Bridgework costs a fraction of what even the cheapest implant costs, but there is definitely a downside to the process. Even the best bridgework is going to require a fair amount of cleaning and maintenance. While this isn’t particularly difficult, it can be time consuming.
Avoid them Both Entirely
If you’re really interested in the most cost-effective and natural feeling teeth in the world, you’ll want to take very good care of the teeth that you’ve already got. Simply brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist for cleanings twice a year is the most cost-effective treatment you’ll ever find.
And if you ask anyone with a bridge or an implant they’ll tell you the same thing, nothing beats your real, natural teeth. So don’t be shy when it comes to brushing and flossing, it’s a decision you’ll never regret.