Missing teeth. Teeth are often lost due to extensive caries or trauma. There are many options for replacing a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth.
Implants. Dental implants are titanium posts that are placed within the jaw bone. An abutment is placed inside the post that comes out of the bone and the gums. A crown can then be placed on top of the implant to restore the tooth. If multiple implants are placed a bridge can be made on top of the abutments to restore multiple teeth. The advantages of implants are that they give a better prognosis to adjacent teeth than a bridge or partial, they preserve the adjacent bone, and they most closely mimic natural teeth. The disadvantages are the cost, the need for surgery, and the length of time to complete the restoration.
Bridges. Bridges are multiple crowns connected together to replace lost teeth. The advantages of a bridge are they are normally less expensive than implants, they take less time to complete, and they give a better prognosis to adjacent teeth than a partial. The disadvantages are that they don't preserve the adjacent bone, are more difficult to clean at home than an implant, and they require crowning of the adjacent teeth.
Partial Dentures. Partial dentures are removable metal frameworks with attached acrylic to replace missing teeth and gums. The advantage is that they are cost effective when replacing multiple missing teeth especially in different areas of the mouth . The disadvantages are that they give the least chewing efficiency, the prognosis of adjacent teeth is not as good as with implants or bridges, and they take time to become accustomed to wearing.