I have teeth that are missing, how can I replace them?

October 15, 2020

We do our best to save and keep teeth, but we still end up with a tooth loss. Losing a tooth changes the way one smiles, chews, and can create some insecurities. A missing tooth can affect the oral condition long term if not immediately addressed.

Q: So I have missing teeth or am going to lose some teeth, what are my options to address the spaces?

Depending on the position and total number of missing teeth, the spaces can be restored by multiple options.

Q: Why do you want to restore the spaces?

It is to rehab the dentition back to its original condition. A full set of teeth provides proper form and function for chewing our food. We also need a full set of teeth so we can confidently smile.

The teeth support each other. Missing teeth will change the balance of the bite, and can lead to shifting of existing teeth and causing a collapse of the bite. A chain reaction can occur and lead to further tooth loss and pain while chewing.

3 requirements for missing teeth:

  • Restore the support for the remaining teeth
  • Balanced bite and chewing forces
  • Restore the esthetics of the smile

Q: So doc, what are my options


A titanium implant placed into the bone, at the root level and restored with a porcelain tooth on top. The implant creates the bracing support for the adjacent and opposing teeth. It restores the chewing function and is esthetically comparable to the real teeth. Implant procedures are highly technique sensitive and require advanced training and experience in implant dentistry.
Advantages: fixed solution, closest to replication of natural teeth. Do not need to drill on adjacent teeth to replace the missing tooth. No special cleaning routine to maintain implants. 
Disadvantages: Implants are limited to the availability of bone support and the restorative space. This procedures can take up to 6-8 months to complete due to healing times.


A dental bridge utilizes multiple crowns to fill missing spaces. Healthy teeth adjacent to the spaces are used as anchors to create the dental bridge. With improvements in the technology in dental materials, dental bridges can be very strong and esthetic.
Advantages: fixed solution; highly esthetic and long-term permanent restoration. They are a flexible cosmetic solution and used in areas where there is lack of bone quality for a dental implant. The bridge option has a quick turnaround of about 2 weeks.
Disadvantages: Difficulty to floss underneath bridge. Special home care instructions to help clean the bridge.  Utilize two adjacent teeth to replace one missing tooth.

Partial Denture

This is a removable option. Removable partial dentures should only be used when we do not have enough bone structure to restore space with a dental implant and not enough teeth to connect a dental bridge. This is temporary solution to restoring the bite, and does not solve the esthetic and bracing support of remaining teeth. A partial denture transfers the forces of biting unto its anchoring teeth, thus these teeth become loose over time.
Advantages: a viable option for those patients who cannot get the dental implant or bridge option. Some balance and chewing capacity restored. This is an excellent temporary solution while waiting for bone to heal after extractions
Disadvantages: Partial dentures can cause pain and discomfort when chewing. They can be esthetically displeasing. The teeth that it anchors on to can become loose after a long time.

Due to the complexity of missing teeth, a full comprehensive planning and consult with your dentist is recommended. To avoid missing teeth and to keep all your existing teeth is still the best and cheapest option of all. Regular visits to your dentist and preventative dentistry will help you keep your teeth for life.


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