Unfortunately, sooner or later most of us will lose at least one tooth. What are the options when it is time to replace one? Dental Implants or a Bridge?
The bridge option was considered the standard of care until recently. To replace a missing tooth the dentist would have to grind two adjacent teeth in order to replace one. Think about the bridge over the river – there are two supports, one on each side of the river supporting the bridge span. Same principle is applied when the dental bridge is made. But the bridge span, which is commonly called pontic, can’t be glued to adjacent teeth and withstand chewing forces. That’s why the adjacent teeth must be cut to receive bridge retainers.
The other option to replace removed tooth is the implant. Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed in the bone to provide support for the abutment and crown. Abutment is also made from titanium in most cases, and has the shape of a tooth. Once the abutment is attached to the implant, the crown can be cemented over it to complete the treatment. The crown looks like the real tooth. To improve the appearance, a custom tooth colored abutment can be made instead of a stock titanium one. This way if gum recedes, only tooth colored material is exposed and no grey color is visible.
Which option is better?
Most of the time I recommend placing an implant. It just makes sense because:
- Adjacent teeth are not cut.
- Teeth are kept separate for better oral hygiene.
- Success rate of implants is much higher than that of bridges and crowns.
- Cost of the implant, abutment and crown in my practice is actually less than the cost of a bridge.
How much is it?
We charge a flat fee of $3,000 for implant, abutment and crown. Most bone grafts are included in this price also. The cost of a tooth colored custom abutment is $150 more. We keep the cost down because we make and sell dental implants (visit www.katimplants.com) and have an on-site lab to make crowns and bridges.
How long does it take?
We schedule 1 hour for implant placement, 20 minutes to take a mold for the crown 3 months later and 30 minutes to cement the crown. Most of the time injection is needed only during implant placement.
Is there a warranty?
There is no charge for any treatment associated with implants or crowns during the first five years.
Does it hurt a lot?
There is no pain associated with implant placement, except for pain during an injection. Amount of pain during the first 3 days after the surgery depends on multiple factors. From my observations, 90% of the patients who received one implant describe the post-operative pain in the following terms: “not bad at all”, “expected much worse” and “took two pain pills same day and that’s it”.
Vitali Bondar, DDS
Owner of the Smile Design Center
Owner of KAT Implants, LLC
Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry
Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
Holds three US and one EU Patents
Please call 603-427-0043 to get more information on dental implants or to schedule you free consultation.