Why Dental Implants are an Effective Tooth Replacement Therapy
One of the most common questions we’re asked at our Littleton area Prosthodontist office is about the cost of dental implants, and whether they are an effective tooth replacement therapy. Since the cost of dental implants can vary greatly between providers, and the insurance coverage for the procedure can be just as varied, understanding the effectiveness of implants for different types of tooth replacement should be helpful if you are considering dental implants.
Dental implants for single tooth replacement
The scientific literature that using dental implants to permanently replace a single tooth should be among the "best practices" for prosthodontists. The cost-effectiveness and long-term benefits have been recognized for more than a decade.
In a review of the scientific literature available as of March 2013, The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) on the "economic implications and cost-effectiveness of dental implants," found that dental implants are especially effective, and cost-effective, as an alternative to "traditional fixed dental prostheses," such as a bridge. Yet, while not seen as cost-effective, dental implants for multiple teeth as an alternative to dentures for example, patient satisfaction was far greater.
Per the review, "For single-tooth replacement, a single implant was a cost-effective treatment option in comparison with a traditional three-unit fixed dental prosthesis." Of course, this is also true when a bridge is used to replace two or three teeth, or for "partial tooth replacement."
Dental implants for total tooth replacement
Also in the past decade or so, the use of dental implants to anchor dentures for patients seeking total tooth replacement has become extremely popular. While the reasons for this change are many, the most common are patient comfort and esthetics. Stated simply, patients feel far more confident and smile more often when their new teeth feel "permanent."
I believe therefore, according to the review of the scientific literature on the efficacy of dental implants for total tooth replacement, "For the replacement of multiple teeth, dental implants (fixed or removable prostheses) were associated with higher initial costs but better improvements in oral health-related quality of life compared with other treatment options."
In our experience as your Littleton prosthodontist, the boost in self-confidence alone when dental implants are used as a stable foundation for dentures is worth the somewhat higher cost.
For more information on the dental implants process, click here to visit our Dental Implants Page.