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The Best Tooth Replacement Options For Missing Teeth

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Whether it’s due to disease, trauma, or genetics, missing teeth can make us feel self-conscious and can even affect our quality of life. But don’t despair! There are a number of tooth replacement options that can help restore your smile and give you back your confidence. 

In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for single and multiple missing teeth, plus the advantages and disadvantages of each, to help you choose the best option for your unique situation.

Single Missing Tooth Replacement Options

Replacing a single missing tooth can be straight forward or very difficult depending on where the tooth is missing and the health of the teeth, gums and bone surrounding the area. Replacement of a single missing front tooth can be the most challenging procedure a dentist could encounter. Hence this blog will take into consideration where the missing tooth is so hopefully you can understand your options at a deeper level and make an informed decision after speaking with your dentist.


Missing Upper Front Tooth

If you are missing a single missing upper tooth at the front, this could be very difficult to manage for the following reasons:

  1. It needs to blend in with your other teeth seamlessly for an aesthetic result
  2. If you have a high smile line your bone and gums will shrink after extraction of the tooth,. How do we prevent this from happening so the tooth doesn’t look too long compared to the tooth next door?
  3. What is the best temporary solution whilst we wait for the permanent tooth to be done?

A dental implant is generally the best solution for a single missing tooth. If the bone and soft tissues are adequate, sometimes an implant could be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction and a temporary crown can be made on the same day so you don’t have to walk out without a tooth!

However, if you have thin soft tissues or thin bone, then you may require bone grafting or soft tissue grafting to ensure that the result is as aesthetic and stable as possible. This could push out the treatment timeframe and leading to a longer waiting time and extra costs.

A dental bridge can be a great option if you are also doing porcelain crowns or veneers on adjacent teeth, or you do not wish to go through implants and bone grafting. Sometimes for an upper lateral incisor you can do a special Maryland bridge which is more conservative than the traditional porcelain bridge.

A denture is commonly used as a temporary solution for a single missing front tooth. They can be a permanent solution if patients don’t mind however it can become a choking risk because it’s so small.

Missing Lower Front Tooth

Usually the lower front tooth is not too visible when someone smiles so the aesthetic requirement of replacing this tooth is much less demanding. 

A dental implant is a good solution but sometimes there may not be enough space because the lower front incisors are quite narrow by nature. 

A conservative dental bridge is usually a good option to replace a tooth around this area. The aesthetic and functional requirement is usually quite low in this area so sometimes even a composite resin bridge may be adequate rather than a porcelain bridge if budget is an issue.

A denture is once again considered a short term solution. Most people who have a single missing lower front tooth don’t even bother to wear the denture.


Missing Upper or Lower Posterior Tooth

When you’re missing a posterior tooth it generally becomes more of a functional rather than aesthetic issue. Wherever possible a dental implant is the best replacement option because it is the only treatment that truly replaces the root of the missing tooth.  Upon function the implant will be able to help distribute the forces so your other teeth are not over-loaded.

One of the most common mistakes is for patients to leave this area untreated for many years because it’s not an aesthetic concern and they can still chew on the other side. Once you lose a tooth, you will lose 50% of the bone within the first 12 months. So the best time to place a dental implant is actually within 3 months of the tooth being extracted. 

After all, if we could place a larger implant, it’s always best for the long term in terms of stability. If however the area has been left for many years, sometimes you will need additional bone grafting in order to have a dental implant, which can be more time consuming and costly. 

There are also a lot of anatomical considerations with placing dental implants in the back region. In the maxilla you have the sinus, and in the mandible you have a major nerve. Both of these areas need to be carefully managed if placing a dental implant.

If dental implants are not suitable then your next best option is a dental bridge. Using sound adjacent teeth as support. A porcelain or zirconia bridge can be made to fit over the top. This method is often cheaper and quicker than a dental implant. 

A denture is not recommended generally speaking to replace one single back tooth.

Multiple Missing Teeth Replacement Options

Replacing multiple missing teeth can be a scary process. How will it feel? How will it look? Will I be able to eat properly? How long does it take? Will the temporary teeth fall out? How long will this last?

Each individual’s situation is different and quite commonly for the same situation, depending on the patient’s goals and limitations, your dentist may recommend different treatment options. For example, if you’re a public speaker and you need to present in front of a large crowd then having any missing teeth at any stage of the treatment phase is not an option, or if you have a strong gag reflex then wearing a denture is also out of the question.

Dental Implants

If you have multiple missing teeth, replacing them with strong “anchors” like dental implants is always better than relying on your own teeth and overloading them. If you’re wondering how many implants you might need, you can use the below as a guide:


No. of Teeth Missing (In a row) No. of Implants Required Comments
2 Missing teeth 1-2 Implants For front teeth, often 1 implant is sufficient to support 2 teeth.
3-4 Missing teeth 2-3 Implants If there’s enough bone, then 2 implants are enough.
5+ Missing teeth 3-4+ Implants Now it is important to start considering what happens if I lose more teeth? And start planning for the future so the current implants can be strategically positioned for future use.


Dental Bridge (Porcelain Bridge, Zirconia Bridge)

If you’re not suitable for dental implants or if you want a quicker solution then sometimes a dental bridge is the way to go. Having multiple teeth is challenging because your adjacent teeth must be healthy and strong enough to support the bridge.

The longer the bridge, the more load your own teeth will have to take, so generally speaking if you have root canalled teeth or heavily restored teeth then they are sometimes not strong enough to support a dental bridge with multiple missing teeth.

Just remember that if the bridge fails in the future, you may or may not have enough bone for dental implants anymore. So if you have enough bone, it may be best to consider dental implants as your primary treatment option.


Dentures are always the most cost effective and easy way to replace teeth. When you have multiple missing teeth, especially on either side of your mouth, sometimes a denture is a good short to medium term solution.

Just remember that dentures will create more food traps and they’re generally very uncomfortable to wear. Cobalt Chrome dentures are much better than Acrylic dentures, but harder to repair if another tooth fails.

Choosing the best teeth replacement option for you

Here’s a summary of the benefits and challenges of different dental treatment options to replace missing teeth in general, taking into consideration all facets of patient consideration such as function, aesthetics and comfort.


  Dental Implants Dental Bridge Dentures
Aesthetics ★★★ ★★★ ★★
Function ★★★ ★★
Comfort ★★★ ★★★
Treatment Time 3 months+ 2 weeks 2 weeks
Longevity 10+ years 10+ years 8+ years
  • True replacement of a tooth
  • Maximum Anchorage/support for function
  • Natural and Aesthetic
  • Optimal Function
  • Fixed
  • Short treatment time
  • Also Restores teeth on either side of the space
  • Natural and Aesthetic
  • Fixed
  • Short treatment time
  • Cost effective option
  • Good short term option


If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth and are looking for an expert opinion for your situation, we would love to help.

Our dental clinic is conveniently located in Brighton in Melbourne. Simply direct message us on social media, call us on (03) 9593-1811, or fill in the enquiry form on our website, and we will be in touch to organise the time for you.

Disclaimer: The material posted is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Results vary with each patient. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits. If you have any specific questions about any dental and/or medical matter, you should consult your dentist, physician or other professional healthcare providers.


Services we mentioned:


Dental Implants

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Great experience! Dr Warren is a great dentist who is gentle and really experienced. He has a great bedside manner that puts patients at ease!

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Great experience! Dr Warren is a great dentist who is gentle and really experienced. He has a great bedside manner that puts patients at ease!

Joanne H


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