Causes of Missing Teeth

145 Missing Teeth – Causes of Missing Teeth (1 of 5)

Common causes of missing teeth in adults include tooth decay, gum disease, and injuries or accidents. In some cases, a patient is born without certain teeth with a condition called congenitally missing teeth. Genetic factors can be the culprit for congenitally missing teeth. This condition is typically seen across generations within a family. Wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and second premolars or bicuspids are the most common teeth for a patient to be missing.

It is relatively common for a patient to have missing teeth. A recent study determined less than half of American adults from 20 to 64 years old have all of their permanent teeth. About 20% of patients over the age of 65 are missing all of their teeth. Some of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults include genetic conditions, injury, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Causes of Missing Teeth
All patients will lose their or primary teeth as they get older. These teeth may also be called a patient’s baby teeth. The 32 secondary or adult teeth which replace the baby teeth are permanent. Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of conditions, health issues, and factors which can result in tooth loss or make patients at risk for losing their teeth.

There are certain systemic conditions, which are most likely inherited disorders, which can cause patients to have missing teeth. A common genetic defect which impacts the teeth is called ectodermal dysplasia. Patients who are impacted by this syndrome are often missing their teeth. Patients with congenitally missing teeth associated with ectodermal dysplasia should receive early and frequent dental evaluations. Patients who work with a dental professional such as a prosthodontist have the opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to the treatment of their missing teeth.

Gum disease is another common cause for missing. Gum disease causes spaces or pockets between the gums and the teeth. This allows for the accumulation of bacteria and over time can result in the decay of teeth and bones. The gum tissue can also begin to recede which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

In addition, sports-related injuries, falls, car accidents, or other types of trauma can also result in a patient losing their teeth. When a patient loses a tooth due to one of these causes, they should follow up with a dental professional immediately for treatment.

The replacement of missing teeth is critical for maintaining the ability to chew food, stimulate the jawbone, ensure remaining teeth are healthy, and for an attractive smile. Teeth that are missing can negatively impact function. In addition, the healthy teeth can slowly begin to shift into the newly empty space. Restoring a missing tooth shortly following the loss or removal is far easier than waiting a few years. Patients should work with a dental professional to discuss their tooth-replacement treatment options.

Common treatments used to replace missing teeth include dental implants, bridges, dentures, or a combination of these solutions.

In order to prevent long-term issues, patients should ensure missing teeth are promptly replaced. Some of the most common issues associated with the loss of a tooth are summarized below:
1. Challenges with chewing or swallowing
2. Dietary problems and food limitations
3. Reduced self-esteem and feeling unattractive
4. Misaligned bite
5. Bone loss and change in the face shape
6. Higher risk for further decay, oral health problems, and additional tooth loss