Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. But some people may initially decide against them because it seems like they’re so much more expensive than other options for replacing a missing tooth.

But is that perception accurate? Are dental implants really that much more expensive than other treatment options? Not really, once you factor in the long-term costs of all options, dental implants can actually be the least expensive option available.

Doing Nothing

Up-front Cost: None

Long-term Cost: Expensive

One tooth replacement option is to actually not replace your missing tooth. Although this is initially free, over the long-term this can be a very costly option.

Without a replacement tooth, you’ll notice that eating and speaking clearly become harder.

Your teeth will begin to drift over time. This won’t just affect the appearance of your smile, it can lead to tooth damage, problems keeping teeth clean, and the potential loss of other teeth.

Dental implants are not that much more expensive than other options

Partial Denture

Up-front Cost: Low

Long-term Cost: Moderate to Expensive

A partial denture is a relatively inexpensive tooth replacement option at first. But it provides with limited functionality. A partial denture can help hold the place in your smile so that your natural teeth won’t drift. However, the partial denture likely won’t be functional for chewing and will only be partly functional for speech.

Partial dentures also have the risk of causing damage to your natural teeth. If your natural teeth are damaged by decay or wear related to the partial denture, these can be expensive fixes.

Partial dentures are also not especially durable, and may need to be replaced several times over the course of a lifetime.

Dental Bridge

Up-front Cost: Moderate

Long-term Cost: Moderate to Expensive

Dental bridges are made up of a replacement tooth attached to dental crowns that go over adjacent teeth to support the replacement. Dental bridges are fully functional tooth replacements. They allow you to eat a full range of foods and speak with complete clarity. The only thing dental bridges don’t do is stimulate your jawbone and gums to maintain them.

Although the initial investment in a dental bridge tends to be less than that of a dental implant, over the long term dental bridges can more expensive. That’s because dental bridges don’t last as long as dental implants, and dental bridges carry the risk that they can cause your natural teeth supporting them to fail as well.

Dental Implant

Up-front Cost: Expensive

Long-term Cost: Moderate

The initial cost of dental implants is higher than other tooth replacement options. However, dental implants make up for this initial cost because they are low maintenance. With just tooth brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, your dental implants can last 20 or 30 years without any major interventions. Even the dental crowns used can last this entire time if properly designed, placed, and cared for. Dental implants are fully functional tooth replacements. Not only can you eat and speak clearly with dental implants, but dental implants also stimulate the bone so it doesn’t become resorbed by the body, helping the root remain anchored firmly.

This means that, overall, the cost of dental implants can be comparable to, if not less than, other tooth replacement options. They are often less expensive than dental bridges over time, while giving as good or better results.

What’s the Best Investment for You?

If you are trying to replace a missing tooth, it’s important to consider not just the immediate cost, but also the long-term costs and benefits. When you factor in all these costs and benefits, for most people dental implants come out as clearly the best investment. But we consider each person individually and will give you advice about which tooth replacement option is best in your case.

To learn what’s best for you, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with an Orange County implant dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.