The Tooth Loss Struggle: Understanding Dental Implants, Dentures & Bridges

Whether you’ve lost most of your teeth or are perhaps just missing a few, it has to be one of the most challenging situations you can face. That’s because each tooth that is lost affects your ability to eat and speak properly. The remaining teeth also shift over time, triggering gum disease and jawbone degeneration.

So if your tooth is damaged by accident or due to diseases like periodontitis or abscess, consider Century Smile Dental for your tooth replacement. Keep reading for some of the top tooth replacement options and their pros and cons.


Dentures provide a full set of replacement teeth used for chewing and speaking. If you are missing teeth, you must first determine the type of dentures that work best for you.

  • Full Dentures: Full dentures are for people who have lost all or most of their natural teeth.
  • Partial Dentures: Partial dentures are for people who have lost some or most of their natural teeth but still have some remaining in place.

Pros of dentures:

  • They are a permanent solution to tooth loss that can last for 5-10 years if well cared for.
  • They look like your natural teeth.
  • You remove dentures so you can eat or brush your tongue when not in place, which is helpful since they may initially irritate your tongue and gums.

Although dentures have many benefits (including improved speech and chewing), they also have some drawbacks:

  • They’re not as durable as natural teeth. Dentures can wear down over time and may chip or crack if you bite into something hard. They also require more care than natural teeth. You’ll need to clean them well daily with special dental products to prevent bacteria growth, which could cause bad breath or gum disease.
  • Dentures may not fit correctly right away — sometimes taking several weeks or months for the gums and tissues around your mouth to adjust fully to their presence. It can lead to bone loss.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium and support artificial tooth roots that anchor dentures or bridges. These implants can be placed into your mouth after you have lost a tooth or multiple teeth due to gum disease or injury.

The process involves the implant placed in your jawbone and the surrounding tissue healing around the metal post over time. Once this has healed, an artificial tooth can be attached to the post to replace your missing teeth and help to chew food again.

Pros of dental implants include:

  • Dental implants restore your ability to chew food and speak clearly. It can improve your enjoyment of eating and speaking. It also promotes the healing of bone due to tooth loss.
  • Dental implants prevent bone loss because they support the jawbone.
  • Look natural. Dental implants look like real teeth. They’re also stain-resistant and don’t require constant maintenance, such as brushing or flossing.

Cons of dental implants:

  • Nerve damage. It can cause pain and numbness in other areas of their mouths.
  • Bleeding or infection. You can control it with medication and antibiotics.
  • Bone rejecting the implant. It happens if the bone gets damaged from previous oral surgery or illness like gum disease or osteoporosis.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges replace missing teeth. A dental bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis that spans the gap created by missing teeth and connects the two existing teeth on either side of the gap. Dental bridges use porcelain fused to metal, lasting up to 5-7 years when cared for properly.

Dental bridges have two parts: the crowns (the replacement teeth) and the pontics (the part of the bridge that sits on top of your natural teeth). The pontics look like small caps that fit over your natural teeth, while they secure the crowns with small screws or posts.

The pros of using dental bridges are:

  • Prevents bone loss: By preventing your jawbone from shrinking, the dental bridge prevents bone loss.
  • Restores chewing and speaking: A dental bridge restores chewing and speaking functions by replacing missing teeth in your mouth.
  • Protects adjacent teeth: A dental bridge protects adjacent teeth from being damaged by food particles or bacteria entering this void area by covering up the space left by missing teeth.

The con of using dental bridges are:

  • Change teeth structure. The dentist alters the crowns on the two adjacent teeth to support the bridge. It may cause slight changes in their natural shape and appearance, but it should not affect their function or health.
  • High chances of bacteria. A gap where two teeth used to meet creates a very high risk of infection due to food getting trapped when biting down on food or chewing gum.

Today’s dentistry is much more advanced than a few decades ago, and various treatments are readily available to help individuals impacted by tooth loss restore their smiles. If you are considering replacing missing teeth or your dentist has recommended specific dental treatment, research your options and ask questions until you have all the information.