Why it's important to replace missing teeth
Missing several teeth can severely influence your daily life. It can affect your general health, your appearance and self-esteem. Learn more about what role your teeth play in your mouth and the consequences of tooth loss.
"My missing teeth are giving me trouble. What can I do?"
Your teeth: A story of molars, incisors, gum and bone
All of your teeth have an important role to play. They help you chew and grind up food. They also help you speak clearly and are the essence of your smile.
We start off with 20 milk teeth when we are children, which then get replaced by 32 permanent teeth.
What causes tooth problems?
You’ve lost a tooth? Learn more about possible reasons and how to avoid it in future.
Your tooth died
Plaque is a biofilm that forms on your teeth if it's not washed away by saliva or regularly brushed away with a toothbrush. Bacteria transforms sugar and starch into acids. These acids have a negative effect on the tooth enamel by dissolving the minerals that harden it. With time, this can destroy your teeth by creating holes. If not treated properly, your tooth can die.
Your gums are inflamed
Your gums are made up of tissue and ligaments that keep your teeth stable. They work as protective shields for your tooth roots and stimulate your jaw bone to grow around the tooth. When bacteria cause an inflammation of the gums, these ligaments start vanishing. The gum pulls back and the bone around the tooth reduces.
These gum diseases, also called periodontal diseases, loosen your teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots. Now it’s an easy job for bacteria to form on your teeth and cause tooth-root decay and tooth loss.
You had an accident
Accidents, for example in sports, can lead to the loss of one or more teeth and cause trauma to your gums and jaw bone. Often trauma only becomes apparent months or years after the accident, when it has already impacted the tooth root.
It's genetically determined
Some people are born with a reduced number of teeth or no teeth at all (an illness called congenital anodontia), others never develop their permanent adult teeth. Sometimes the surface of your tooth (enamel) isn't strong enough, which can create cone or peg-shaped teeth (ectodermal dysplasia).
Find out how dental implants can replace a missing or severely damaged tooth and bring back full function as well as a natural look and feel.
Consequences of missing teeth
Effects on jaw bone and gum
When you lose teeth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough due to the missing teeth, so the jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back. This can weaken neighboring teeth until they collapse. Teeth in the opposite jaw can then start growing into the gap.
Effects on your appearance
Missing teeth and a reduced jaw bone can make your face look older and wrinkly, and for your cheeks to become hollow and saggy, because they can no longer fully stabilize your lips and cheeks from the inside.
Every tooth counts.