It's considered natural and adorable when young children have a tooth fall out as baby teeth make way for adult teeth. But it's not as adorable or welcome when a tooth falls out as an adult. Whether it's due to damage, disease or accident, there are some solutions for a missing tooth that can satisfy any dental customer.
Grin and Bear It
The cheapest and easiest solution is to simply leave the now vacant hole in place and go on with life. This works best if the missing tooth is in the far rear of the mouth, where it's unlikely to be noticed very often. Note that it will still be visible when you open your mouth wide, such as in a yawn, but it will mostly remain hidden. If the missing tooth is in the front, you might be able to leave it empty if you don't mind the change to your physical appearance. But a missing front tooth is more likely to cause problems with talking – ask any six-year-old kid who has lost their two front teeth and inherited a lisp.
If you decide to grin and bear it, you still want to make a dental appointment to make sure there aren't any pieces of tooth left below the gum and to ensure your situation makes it safe to simply leave the hole there. If you're relatively young, the dentist might want you to fill that hole to avoid surrounding teeth from shifting positions because of the all the new space.
A dental bridge is essentially an artificially created tooth suspended between two crowns, or dental caps, for the healthy teeth surrounding the hole. The center artificial tooth – called the pontic – is merely supported rather than implanted. The result is still fairly sturdy and can return functions lost with the missing tooth, such as chewing or closing your jaw properly. But there's one key weakness in choosing a bridge: if either of the supporting teeth falls out or becomes damaged, that bridge and replacement tooth is now useless.
Implants are the more secure method of attaching a false tooth. An artificial titanium root is implanted into your gum. Then a custom-crafted artificial tooth is snapped into place on that root. This setup doesn't require any teeth to even be in the vicinity of the implanted tooth -- it's fully capable of standing on its own. That makes dental implants the most practical long-term solution for a missing tooth.