When you are missing teeth due to an accident or decay, you have several options for replacing them. The two most common forms of tooth replacement are bridges and partial dentures. Most dentists will recommend that you have a bridge placed when possible, because bridges are placed permanently in your mouth and function more like natural teeth than partial dentures. However, how you replace missing teeth is a complicated decision that should be based on your personal habits and needs. Before you decide between a bridge and partial denture, you should discuss the following five points with your dentist.  The Upfront Cost of Each In general, bridges tend to be more expensive than partial dentures. This is because of the work needing to be done on the teeth that will hold the bridge as well as the material itself. However, a high quality partial denture can sometimes cost as much as a low quality bridge. If a bridge seems to be beyond your budget, you may want to discuss options to make it more affordable, such as a payment plan.  Long-term Benefits of Each Some people find bridges to have more long-term benefits because they allow you to eat more naturally than partial dentures. They also do a good job of keeping your natural teeth in place, whereas partial dentures may allow your teeth to shift slightly over the years. However, other people find dentures to be a better solution because it is easier to add additional teeth to the denture if you have problems with other teeth in the future.  To determine the long-term benefits you would receive from each option, you should consider what dental work you may need in the next 5-10 years, as both bridges and dentures tend to last around 10 years.  Your Hygiene Habits Most dentists suggest dental work with the understanding that you are going to complete the recommended amount of brushing and flossing and go into the dentist for annual exams. However, unless you lost your teeth due to an accident, you may have poor dental hygiene or a naturally higher amount of oral bacteria that makes you more susceptible to tooth decay. It is important you are realistic about whether you can change your hygiene habits, and whether a change will have a positive effect on your remaining teeth.  If you find it difficult to remember to brush and floss on a daily basis, you may find it is easier to clean a removable partial denture. If you have decent oral hygiene habits, then a bridge may be more comfortable for you.  Expectations for Your Oral Health If you are a younger patient and have no history of losing teeth,...