If some of your teeth are missing, but you haven't noticed any trouble speaking, eating, sleeping, and so on, you might not think doing anything about those missing teeth is urgent. In fact, you might think it a bit of a chore because you'll have to go through evaluations and exams and several other appointments -- and you're likely too busy to deal with all of that, not to mention the cost. But it is better to have reconstruction done now, when things seem fine. If things become not-fine, you'll face a steeper bill and more difficult path to recovery.
What Happens if You Leave Things as They Are
Missing teeth equal more space in your mouth, and like people moving into a bigger house, the remaining teeth in your mouth are going to want that space. You could see your teeth move out of alignment as those spaces are left unfilled. That can create problems with eating for you because your teeth won't fit together properly when you chew. You could damage your teeth, too, as you bite down. Plus, the more your teeth move, the longer it will take and the more expensive it will be to fix everything.
If the missing teeth are on the side of your mouth, you may notice your cheek on that side beginning to sink down and inward. Since you no longer have teeth forming a firm backdrop for the flesh of your cheek, it has nothing to stop it from sinking down. Dental reconstruction stops this sinking process.
You have plenty of options for dental reconstruction of missing teeth. Dentures, bridges, and implants are all possible. You do have to ensure that any remnants of the missing teeth are gone; in other words, if you're missing a tooth due to an accident, all of the root bits have to be out.
Dentures are best for when you don't want to have an implant placed in your jawbone, or when you can't have an implant placed there. Dentures aren't perfect because your other teeth can still start to move, but they are better than nothing. The same goes for bridges. Implants are the best option assuming you have enough jaw bone for them.
You will have to start with an exam and x-rays; the dentist needs an up-to-date picture of what's happening with all your teeth. If you're getting dentures or a bridge, you'll need to have a dental mold taken. You might also need that for implants.
For dentures and bridges, the next step is a fitting after the piece has been made, and you may have to go back a few times to sand down this bit or double-check the fit on that bit. Bonded bridges won't need that.
For implants, you'll have one appointment to insert the implant base, and then you'll need a few months of healing time; a second appointment to install the crown will happen once you're better. There are same-day implants that work best when you have just one tooth to replace; talk to your dentist about those.
It may seem tedious and costly now, but dental restoration done when your mouth is otherwise doing just fine is a lot better than waiting around for things to get worse. You will find it a lot easier to take care of things quickly if you get started now.