It is always best to keep your natural teeth in your own mouth. Sometimes, due to decay or periodontal disease we may lose a tooth.
In the case of a badly decayed tooth we have the option of root canal therapy to keep the tooth. This requires usually a post and core and a crown. These are preferred if possible, but very expensive.
In the case of periodontal disease, you usually lose the tooth because of bone loss and infection resulting from the bone loss. The bone loss is a result of the plaque excreting an acid and inflaming the tissue, resulting in the bone loss with subsequent infection.
Now you are faced with a problem. How am I going to replace the tooth? Without a root canal you can't save the tooth. After the tooth is extracted, you need to look at the bone left in relation to the anatomy and unfortunately the budget to figure what can be done.
The easiest and time tested, not necessarily the most satisfactory solution, can be what is commonly known as a ‘flipper'. Sounds like a fish doesn't it? It is all acrylic removable partial.
If the tooth that is lost has a natural tooth on each side the dentist may elect do a bridge. A bridge is a crown on the natural teeth adjacent to the space with a fake tooth that appears as if it were growing out of the tissue. A bridge is the only optional if you have healthy teeth, periodontally.
The next replacement possibility is an implant. An implant is a metal female structure that is placed in the bone surgically. After it integrates into the osseous tissue, or bone, it is uncovered in such a manner that you can fit a male attachment which appears totally natural.
Your last option is do nothing at all and just leave the space. Of course this is not desirable esthetically. Functionally it is a disaster of a choice for the patient to make. Teeth stay in a natural alignment in the mouth by the teeth on each side of it. Kind of keeps the tooth standing straight. The height of the tooth is determined by the teeth they bite against. If you lose a tooth the teeth on either side of the space will lean into the space and the tooth opposing the space will grow, or extrude into that area. Kind of confusing but rest assure it will mess up your bite. Possibly giving you TMJ problems in the form of 'popping' or soreness.
In conclusion, go to the dentist for care and brush and floss. Keep damage disease under control.