1. An implant beats bridges or dentures
Bridges, dentures, and implants replace missing teeth.
A bridge requires filing two adjoining teeth, which can make them weaker and prone to decay. Dentures often have fit problems and can interfere with taste. For an implant, a titanium screw is placed in the jawbone and a prosthetic tooth is attached. A proper implant has no physical downsides and has good longevity.
2. Implants are more expensive generally.
One of the biggest ‘problems’ patients see with implants is the cost. Implants are rarely covered by insurance. But when considering cost you need to consider value. Implants are a permanent, long-term solution that exactly matches your existing teeth. Implants are for the rest of your life, and can replicate your teeth in appearance and functionality.
If you need an implant near a nerve or sinus cavity, it's worth paying for a dentist who has specialized training.
3. Not all implants are equal
Most dentists use implants made by the original Swedish manufacturer; studies have found that these implants have high success rates (90% or more).
There are also some newer, generic implants that are cheaper but may not have been studied yet. So ask your doctor what kind of implant he uses and the success rate he's had with it.
4. Timing can also help
Implants are usually a two-part process -- first putting in the implant, then covering it with a crown six to 12 weeks later.
If you know you need one, schedule the initial procedure at the end of a calendar year, then have the crown put on in the following year. That way you can use two years' worth of your pretax flexible spending account at work to pay a chunk of the cost. You'll reap as much as 30% savings if you're in a high tax bracket.
Excerpts – CNN.com