Losing a tooth as an adult is definitely not as exciting as it was back when you were 6 years old and waiting for the Tooth Fairy to show up. Later in life a chipped, broken, or missing tooth can be painful and have serious long-term consequences, including the potential for infection and bone loss. To fix this, your dentist might recommend some type of dental surgery or procedure, but these days you might have a choice between getting a crown, a bridge, or a dental implant.


dental crown is a procedure that provides an artificial cap for an existing tooth. Your dentist might recommend this procedure:

  • To protect a tooth that has been weakened by decay
  • To restore a broken tooth
  • To cover a tooth when a large filling leaves you with little natural tooth
  • To correct a misshapen tooth

The procedure involves grinding down the existing tooth, then placing a cap that is fashioned out of a material such as porcelain, resin, stainless steel, metal, or another similar material. A crown for a single tooth will only be an option for patients that still have enough of their existing tooth and root intact to support the crown.


Dental bridges are similar to crowns, but they are used in situations where you have a missing tooth. They are made up of two crowns that surround a false tooth, and anchor the false tooth to the surrounding teeth. Your dentist can often place a bridge without the need for dental surgery, and once placed, they offer a stable option for replacing a missing tooth. It is also a better option for someone who does not have adequate jaw bone structure to support a dental implant.


Dental implants have become a popular choice for many people who need to replace their missing teeth because they offer a replacement tooth that is as close to your natural tooth as possible, and there is no additional work required on surrounding teeth. They also require little to no maintenance beyond your usual at-home oral health care of brushing and flossing daily.

During this dental surgery, your dentist will place an artificial root into your jawbone that will eventually fuse with the bone the same way a natural root would. Next your dentist will fashion a crown that matches your other teeth and secure the crown over the artificial root. If you have several missing teeth, you can talk to your dentist about getting implant-support dentures, or dentures that are anchored to your jawbone with artificial roots so they are more secure than removable dentures.

Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants, so it’s important to talk to your dentist in advance to find out if they would work in your situation. If you are a smoker, have a weakened immune system, or suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes you may not be able to get implants.

How to Decide Which is Best

Deciding between crowns, bridges, and implants is often a matter of understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each option. While they all have a similar outcome—providing you with beautiful, natural-looking replacement teeth—there are certain situations where each option would be beneficial.

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