Dental Prostheses (Understanding the Common Types)


If you've lost one or more teeth, or if you need to have a tooth pulled, you should learn about the options for restoring your smile. Here are a few common ways to replace missing teeth.

Removable partial denture

The first option is called a "removable partial denture." It replaces one tooth, or a few of them, and you can take it out of your mouth for cleaning. The replacement teeth may be held by a plastic base that's molded to fit your gum, or set in a metal framework that clasps to your other teeth. Or they may snap into place with devices called "precision attachments."

Fixed partial denture (dental bridge)

The second option is a "fixed partial denture." We call it a "bridge." It fills in the gap to replace one or more teeth that are next to each other. With a traditional bridge, the replacement teeth are attached to crowns. The crowns are put on the teeth on both sides of the gap. So those teeth will have to be filed down to receive the crowns. A bridge is strong and stable, and can be used for front teeth and molars.

Dental implant

The third option is called a "dental implant." It's a replacement tooth that is held in place by a metal post that's surgically embedded in your jawbone. A dental implant can look and perform just like a real tooth.


You don't have to live with a gap in your teeth. Talk to your dentist to find a tooth-replacement solution that's right for you.