Dental Implants vs. Bridges Survival Rates
A common conversation at my office is dental implants versus fixed bridges to replace missing teeth. Approximately 50% of the adult population in the United States is missing at least one tooth. This fact explains why the conversation about bridges and dental implants is frequently addressed. In fact, adults age 50-59 account for 20% of the total adult population and 30% of them are missing at least one posterior premolar or molar. As a consequence, replacement of posterior teeth is one of the most common treatments in any dental office. The most common treatment is utilization of a three unit fixed prothesis (bridge). Several studies have indicated that bridge failure is most likely due to decay of the adjacent teeth that support the bridge. This usual leads to subsequent root canal treatment and even tooth loss. Because of these complications, the average life span of a bridge is approximately 9 to 10 years. In comparison, a single posterior dental implant survival rate is approximately 98%. Therefore, when my patients want to know what the difference between treatment options. I tell them 70% vs. 98% 10 year survival rate on average. However, this statement doesn’t illustrate the whole story. When a bridge fails, it usually means that the patient will loose one or both of the adjacent teeth due to fracture or decay. Survival rates aside, dental implants to replace a missing posterior teeth is the best option due to the reduction in collateral damage.
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