Dental fact poster that says "A century ago, 50% of adults in North America were toothless." It accompanies an article about missing teeth.

Problems Caused by Missing Teeth That May Surprise You

September 7, 2023 9:00 am
Published by

Everyone loses their baby teeth to make room for adult teeth, but if an adult tooth falls out, nothing grows in its place. According to the CDC, around a quarter of adults 65 and older have 8 or fewer teeth. Around 1 in 6 adults in that age range have lost all their teeth! Adult missing teeth cause a mouthful of problems, including some you may not have thought about:

    #1. Bite Misalignment

    When you lose a tooth, the other teeth shift to fill the space left behind. Even if you had a perfectly straight smile before tooth loss, you can end up with crowding and other bite misalignments. Orthodontic treatment is unlikely to help since it doesn’t address the root issue: missing teeth.

    #2. Gum Disease

    Gum disease, specifically periodontal disease, is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss. But, if you lose a tooth for another reason, your risk for gum disease still goes up! As your teeth shift to compensate for the lost tooth, bacteria can accumulate under the gum line, leading to gum disease. If the disease isn’t caught early enough, it can’t be reversed. Gum disease can be managed, but it often requires more intense or frequent cleanings at the dentist.

    #3. Jawbone Loss

    Every time you chew and bite down, your teeth stimulate your jawbone. It’s like working out a muscle; chewing and biting keep your jaw strong. When you’re missing teeth, your jawbone no longer gets the stimulation it needs. The bone shrinks, which can cause further tooth loss, pain, gum shrinking, and more.

    #4. Older Appearance

    Did you know tooth loss can make you look older than you are? That’s because your teeth support your facial muscles. Without support, your cheeks can start drooping while wrinkles form around your mouth. Jawbone loss can also significantly age a person as the lower part of your face weakens and shrinks.

    Tooth Replacement at Shannon Oaks Family Dental in Cary, NC

    Missing teeth are more than a cosmetic issue. You could deal with bite misalignment, gum disease, jawbone loss, and an appearance older than your age. Thankfully, there are great tooth replacement options like dental bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. If you’re missing teeth and want to avoid the problems they cause, please get in touch with us today!

    Contact Us

    Image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0