If you have to get more than one tooth extracted or if you have several teeth in a row that are missing, you will definitely feel that biting, chewing, and depending on the teeth that have gone missing even speech has become much more difficult. There are basically two ways to get them replaced: either with a bridge (or a partial denture), or with dental implants. Because the difference is not always clear, I hope to clarify what the pros and cons are for both of these solutions.
Bridges and dentures can replace normal chewing function and with a little time can restore your speech to what it was previously. The main downside with this kind of tooth replacement is that it is not a complete tooth replacement. Bridges and dentures only replace the visible portion of the teeth; the ones that stick out of the gums and that are used to chew. But if the gums do not have tooth roots in them, they start to disintegrate, and this puts the rest of your teeth in jeopardy, and you risk losing perfectly healthy teeth due to lack of anchorage.
But partial dentures and bridges are much cheaper, require no surgery, and can be in the mouth fulfilling their function in 2 weeks’ time. This is definitely a drawing point for many patients, who may not be able to afford costly dental implants. Removable dentures are also more hygienic and easier to take care of than fixed bridges or dental implant fixed dentures.
Dental implants are actually more worth it in the long run for a tooth replacement, but they are definitely an investment. The visible portion of the teeth is still replaced with a bridge, except that under no circumstances can it be removable, but the real difference lies beneath the gum line. While dentures and bridges do not replace tooth roots, dental implants are tiny titanium screws that are drilled into the jawbone, acting as artificial tooth roots, and replacing every part of the tooth. This is definitely healthier and functionally more appropriate, as it stops tooth loss because it stops the weakening of the alveolus.
Dental implants take a while: there is a three month healing time after the implantation, and then some more before you get your final crown and abutment. They are also markedly more expensive, too. But they are the only real solution to tooth loss, as they replace the entirety of the tooth, not just the crown.
If you are strapped for cash, by all means, a denture or bridge is the best solution, or if you need a solution fast. But if you need a lasting solution, dental implants are by far the better investment.