There are several ways to replace a missing tooth. A simple solution consists in fabricating a partial denture.
Partial dentures look like orthodontic retainers, usually carrying one or two teeth. The denture may also be attached to other teeth using wire clips.
Another option is a dental bridge. Bridges are usually fixed, stable, and feel like natural teeth. However, you need to prepare (i.e. grind down) the two neighboring – otherwise healthy – teeth in order to carry the bridge.
This can lead to problems like periodontal disease in the long-run.
Dental implants are the best substitute for a missing tooth. They are artificial roots for teeth, screwed into the jawbone to carry crowns, bridges etc. Usually they are made of titanium because of its compatibility with human bones and tissues: Within a few months, the implant merges biologically with the human body (osseointegration) and thus feels like a natural tooth root.
Implants can be used as replacement of single teeth or as pillars to support long bridges, i.e. with only 2-4 implants, an entire upper or lower denture can be supported. Dental implants, if taken good care, have a lifespan of 20 years or more.
Please note that implants are not fit for everyone. Among other factors, ideal bone condition is required. Should bone grafts and/or sinus lifting be required for implants placement, additional time may be needed to complete the treatment.