For replacing individual teeth, implants are an ideal way of doing this. The only other ways of replacing a missing tooth is by using a removable plastic or metal denture, or by attaching a tooth to adjacent teeth (a bridge) to fill the gap. A denture can be uncomfortable and is also not fixed in place. A conventional bridge can cause irreparable damage to adjacent teeth. For these reasons, an implant is often the best way of replacing a single tooth.
A loose set of false teeth (dentures) can make talking and eating almost impossible. In some people it is very difficult to get a nice fitting set of dentures due to previous gum disease eating away at the jawbone and leaving little bone for the dentures to grip over. Despite this bone loss, there is often enough bone to place implants, which when placed under a denture, can significantly improve the hold of the dentures. This enables the wearer to be able to eat, smile and laugh freely without fear of the dentures falling out.
An implant supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, except it is supported by dental implants as opposed to natural teeth. They are used when more than one tooth is missing and can potentially replace a full arch of teeth, when supported by sufficient implants in the jaw.