If one or more of your teeth are missing, you have two basic options for closing the gap and gaining back a complete smile. Your dentist can either apply dental implants, or create bridges for your missing teeth. Both methods are effective, but it is important to understand the pluses and minuses of each one in order to be able to decide which is really the best for you.

Dental Implants

  1. A titanium post is implanted in your jaw bone and eventually bonds with the bone over time.
  2. The implanted post is capped with crown that replaces that visible part of the tooth, and has the same appearance and color as natural tooth enamel.


  • The implant and crown are as strong and attractive as natural teeth, or even more so.
  • Implants do not require any special maintenance once they are applied.


  • At least two appointments are needed to complete this procedure.
  • Minor oral surgery is necessary, and recovery may be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Dental Implants are very expensive per tooth.

Fixed Dental Bridges

A non-removable prosthesis is attached to natural teeth on either side of the space created by the missing tooth or teeth.


  • Bridges are relatively simple to create and attach.
  • Bridges are attractive and hard to distinguish from natural teeth.
  • The most expensive bridges on the market are cheaper than the least expensive dental implants.


  • The teeth on either side of the false teeth must be filed down before attaching the bridge.
  • The filed teeth that support the bridges are more prone to accumulation of bacterial plaque and the decay and periodontitis that plaque can cause.
  • The risk for future root canal treatments increases for the teeth that support the bridges.

It is important to fill in gaps left by missing teeth to prevent the remaining teeth from moving toward the empty space and causing them to protrude, twist, or become crooked. While the procedure for applying a bridge is less expensive and less invasive, it is also more damaging to the healthy teeth. In the long run, whenever a client can afford the treatment and is emotionally able to handle the surgery required, dental implants are always a better choice.

If you are afraid of the pain during or after surgery, ask your dentist to consider administering laughing gas during the procedure to help you remain calm and anxiety free. Regardless of your choice, don't forget to check on your dentist regularly to make sure that everything is going on smoothly.