Implant Treatment Is the Most Cost-Effective
For most patients, other than those requiring complex full-mouth reconstruction, dental implant treatment is the most cost-effective long-term solution for missing teeth. This is because dental implants have the highest documented success rates of any type of tooth replacement.
Bridges Are More Expensive Over Time
Replacing teeth with dental implants does not compromise the health of adjacent teeth, whereas removing tooth structure to place bridges actually undermines the long-term health of these teeth. Treatment is needed in the future to revise or replace bridges when they fail and can include other procedures, such as root canal therapy. This additional treatment increases the long-term cost significantly.
Comparing Long-Term Costs
If a single tooth is lost, the two most common methods of tooth replacement are a traditional tooth-supported bridge and an implant-supported crown. The American Dental Association reports that bridges last an average of 10.1 years, whereas documented clinical studies indicate that single implants are well over 95% success for 20+ years.
Even with partial insurance reimbursement, the cost of a tooth-supported bridge is higher long-term because of the additional treatment required when the bridge fails. In addition, each time a bridge is replaced, the teeth supporting the bridge need further preparation, resulting in the removal of more tooth structure and often precipitating root canal treatment and additional fees.
A conservative cost breakdown over 20 to 25 years would be as follows:
The total cost of tooth replacement with a tooth-supported bridge can be significantly higher than the cost of replacing the bridge every 10 years, since the cost of root canal therapy and other procedures could be included as well. On the other hand, the adjacent teeth are not compromised with an implant-supported crown and therefore, additional treatment is not necessary. Sometimes the porcelain crown needs to be revised or replaced, but this does not involve additional treatment, or affect the adjacent teeth or the dental implant.