Missing Tooth Options – What Are They?

Dr. John Luther

Dr. John Luther, D.D.S. & Founder

June 3, 2014

Oh no – what can I replace my missing tooth with?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of the impact on your appearance and dental health.  A missing tooth in front affects the way you speak, chew and smile.  Missing teeth in the back can cause your mouth to shift and your face to look older than your years.

The good news is, there are three options when it comes to replacing a missing tooth:

  1. Dental Implant
  2. Fixed Bridge (aka “Fixed Partial Denture” or “FPD”)
  3. Removable Bridge (aka “Partial” or “Partial Denture”)

Each option has advantages and disadvantages, and Dr. Luther can help you choose the best option for you.

A Dental Implant is strong and stable, since a Titanium post fuses directly to your jaw and acts like the root of a tooth. 

X-ray of Implant post
Radiograph of dental implant post

This is the most similar to your natural tooth, and does not have to affect any adjacent teeth.  However, they are not intended for everyone; there must be enough bone support in the jaw to allow the Titanium post to fuse properly, and placement may take longer and require a few more dental visits than other procedures.  Dr. Luther can make that determination and guide you in your choices.

A Fixed Bridge or Fixed Partial Denture is used to span the space, using two or more adjacent teeth to the missing tooth space(s).  This fixed bridge is bonded (cemented) into place utilizing a crown for the teeth on each end of the bridge with an artificial tooth (called a pontic) in the missing tooth space.  These are all connected, acting like a bridge over water spanning a river.  Fixed Partial Dentures look and feel like natural teeth and do not need to be removed from the mouth for cleaning.

A Removable Bridge or Partial Denture can easily be removed for cleaning.  While a Fixed Bridge may feel more stable, in some instances a Partial Denture is the best option to replace a missing tooth.  They are generally less expensive and are easier to repair.  It may take several weeks to become accustomed to inserting and removing a Partial Denture, but your mouth will eventually become accustomed to it.  A partial denture may require some adjusting by your dentist to make it fit comfortably.  Over time, as you age and your mouth changes, your Partial Denture may not fit well.  Repairs can take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on what needs to be done to make your Partial Denture fit comfortably again.

How to best replace missing teeth is an important decision; Dr. Luther would be happy to answer all your questions regarding the best replacement option for you.

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