Any dental related cost can be viewed as an investment in your health and wellness. As much as possible, we try to help patients keep their dental investment honed on the area of prevention and, if so desired, the cosmetic improvement of the smile. However, sometimes, it is necessary to rebuild the structure of a tooth or teeth. Sometimes, we have to start from the ground up. Understandably, any patient who must replace a missing or failing tooth has to consider the cost of care. Here, we discuss how to do that prudently.
Assessing the True Return on Investment
When we think about replacing a missing tooth or teeth, we might be tempted to focus on the visible details like putting a tooth back where it belongs, so the smile looks good. There’s much more to tooth replacement than appearances. Teeth also need to function. They need to be reliable and secure so that you can eat (and actually enjoy your meals). They need to last, too. When we look at the average restoration like a bridge or denture, we see a lifespan of about 15 years in most cases, and that includes routine adjustments to account for bone loss. Surgical-grade titanium implants fuse with the bone, so they stay put. According to research, they can stay put for several decades. In one study, researchers estimated that dental implant treatment would cost 10% less than a bridge when viewed across its lifetime.
Assessing What Matters Most
What matters most when we replace teeth is not how the smile looks, or even that chewing function is restored. It’s the degree to which these benefits are attained that matters. For example, a full denture may give you back the look you once had, but if your teeth are sliding out of your mouth or rubbing on your gums, you may not wear your dentures all the time as you should. Even when dentures are worn consistently, there will be bone loss. This loss is only worse when dentures are not in place at all times. When considering the cost of tooth replacement, the ultimate factor to consider is your quality of life.
Learn more about dental implants. Call our St. Helens dental office at (503) 397-6144.