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Options for Missing Teeth

Losing a tooth is not a fun process by any means. Additionally, trying to decide which replacement option is right for you can be intimidating. There are so many different options—each with different advantages and disadvantages.

It may be tempting to metaphorically “throw in the towel” and not choose anything. Unfortunately, that is not a great option. This is because not fixing your missing teeth can negatively affect your dental health. 

close up image of gums with missing teeth dental tool pulling back lips to see gums restorative dentistry dentist in Burlington North Carolina

Why Fix Missing Teeth?

If you look, most teeth fit snugly together. There is very little space between them—only enough to get the floss between them. This is because teeth need the support of their surrounding teeth to stay in place and healthy. When one tooth goes missing, the rest of the teeth can become loose. Consequently, you can lose even more teeth. At the very least, it is likely that your teeth will shift, damaging your bite pattern. 

Although it may seem overwhelming, your dentist and dental team will walk you through every step. 

Dental Implants

One of the longest-lasting tooth replacements is a dental implant. A dental implant is a titanium prosthetic tooth root. Unlike other replacement options, dental implants can last a lifetime. As long as there are no complications, you never have to worry about replacing the entire device. This is because your dentist must surgically install a dental implant. 

Over the course of several months, you will undergo surgeries to place pieces of the dental implant. This is because your jaw must heal completely before moving to the next step. While the timeline is not ideal for everyone, the healing process ensures that your dental implant will become a permanent structure in your jaw. 

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a type of prosthetic tooth that uses your remaining teeth for support. In terms of time, durability, and invasiveness of the procedure, a dental bridge sits between dentures and dental implants. It is less invasive than a dental implant because it does not require surgery. However, it may take several office visits to finish the process. 

Bridges are permanent fixtures, but you will need your dentist to replace them after 10-15 years. This means that you will not remove your dental bridge on a daily basis. However, the fixture will wear out after years of use. 

Dental bridges fill the gap between your missing tooth and your remaining natural teeth. Using dental crowns and metal, the device sits between your teeth. This keeps the appliance firmly in place for years. 


Dentures are false teeth made of resin, metal, and porcelain. Unlike other tooth replacement options, you can remove dentures from your mouth. In fact, you must remove dentures daily for cleaning and to give your gums a break.

Keeping dentures in your mouth for too long can cause sores and bone loss. In addition, wearing dentures at night and not keeping them clean can increase the risk of respiratory infections. 

Over a few appointments, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create comfortable, well-fitting dentures.