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Dentures, Bridges, and Implants

When teeth are missing, it is important that they be replaced. If they are not, the adjacent teeth begin to tip and the opposing teeth over-erupt. Both of these actions lead to premature tooth loss.


Dentures are the least expensive way to replace missing teeth and have several shortcomings. Dentures are bulky and move more than natural teeth resulting in reduced ability to bite and chew food and can cause irritation to the soft tissues of your mouth. Food particles often become trapped underneath the dentures against the tissues of the mouth requiring removal and cleaning after each meal. All dentures must be removed at night during sleep to allow blood flow to return to the soft tissues that support them.

Complete dentures are used when no teeth remain. They may be anchored to implants or tooth roots for improved stability and retention.

Partial dentures are used

when some teeth can be used to retain the denture.


Bridges have several advantages over dentures, most notably they are cemented into the mouth and cannot be removed. They don’t move the way dentures do so chewing and biting are easier. However, bridges rely on the support of adjacent teeth and usually require aggressive preparations to those teeth. In addition, the units of the bridge are joined together so floss must be passed below the bridge to remove trapped plaque and food particles. About 25% of bridges need to be replaced after 10 years due to breakage or cavities.


An implant is a titanium screw that replaces the root of the missing tooth upon. A new tooth is fabricated and attached to the implant. The result is a new tooth that looks and feels just like a natural tooth.

The two teeth in the middle (arrows) were lost years ago and are replaced with a 4 unit bridge. The teeth on either end support these replacement teeth. All 4 units are bonded together so the bridge must be cleaned by passing floss between the gums and the bridge.

The diagram illustrates how the implant replicates the form and function of a natural tooth (shown on the left side)

The incisor on the left was missing from birth and has been replaced by an implant supported crown (arrow).

The replacement tooth (arrow) looks and feels just like a natural tooth.