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5 Ways to Replace a Missing Tooth

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

It's not easy to loose a tooth, but when it does its important to know your replacement options.

So what can you do to fill the space left by an extraction?

Common reasons to replace a tooth are

  • aesthetics

  • stabilize bite

  • prevent tooth migration

  • clear speech

  • adequate ability to chew food

Aesthetics drive our society. The last thing anyone wants is insecurities associated with their smile to impact either of these parameters.

Pain in the jaw can delay work or hinder workplace growth. Fortunately, multiple options exist to get around these problems.


A bridge involves preparing the teeth adjacent to the tooth-less area. From here a cap-like structure is placed over both teeth, with a fake tooth resting and connected in the middle. The success of a bridge depends upon its foundation, like a real bridge.


A bridge may not be the best option if the adjacent teeth are healthy and free of decay.

An implant-supported bridge, where two implants are attached to a central fake tooth, is another bridge-like option to fill a larger space.


An implant is a titanium post like structure that goes into your bone. A crown, or fake tooth, is placed over this to restore aesthetics. The titanium implant joins into the bone and helps preserve bone density. This is a permanent, non-removable solution.

Like any surgery, implants can fail. Other risks are infection, bone loss and soft tissue damage. It is vital to work with a well-trained clinician.

Removable Partial Denture

An "RPD" is a removable option to replace a few missing teeth. This method may involve slight modification of existing teeth or crowns to support the partial denture's framework.

An RPD is a good option if someone that still has some healthy or semi-healthy teeth but cannot get implants.

Complete Denture

Complete dentures are a removable option that is used when no natural teeth remain in the mouth. An individual may need a complete upper and/or a complete lower denture.

Dentures may also involve implant. These are called over dentures: 2-6 implants are placed into the bone to preserve bone and keep the denture from moving around. Of course, implanted based dentures have the same risks as any other implant surgery.

Essix Retainer

An Essix retainer is a transitionary system to replace a missing tooth. Its main purpose is to address aesthetic complains.

A clear plastic mold is made of the remaining teeth and tooth-shaded material is filled into the missing space. When the retainer is put in, it looks like the tooth has been replaced.

The plastic mold is made before an extraction and this method is most beneficial in cases of missing teeth in one area. They work well in emergency situations like in the case of loss of a front tooth.

It's great for cosmetically driven patients, buts need to be replaced every 1 to 3 years (sometimes sooner). When the patient and dentist are ready, it is replaced by an implant or a bridge.

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