There are many fine ways to replace a tooth. All have advantages and disadvantages.
Implants are what the public often refer to as ‘screw-in-teeth’. These days, when they are placed by experienced operators, they are extremely reliable but they require surgery and patience and are quite expensive. See the story on implants in Newsletter 7.
Conventional porcelain and metal bridges have been used successfully for decades. They usually involve drilling and preparing neighboring teeth for crowns and then cementing a structure with a false tooth in between the supporting abutments.
These bridges are not as expensive as implants but the cost is still significant. In addition their associated drilling occasionally leads to nerve damage in the supporting teeth. They sometimes lead to complications!
See Newsletter 12. for more details on Implants, Conventional Bridges and Partial Dentures.
Another technique which is sometimes suitable is the Bonded Bridge. Rather than using a laboratory to construct an artificial tooth out of porcelain it uses adhesive composite resin to directly bond a new tooth onto a neighbour, usually without any destructive drilling.
The procedure usually takes just one appointment and costs the equivalent of about three fillings. Conversely it should be recognized that the new tooth is not as strong as that of a traditional bridge - over ten years there is a failure rate of about one quarter.