Tooth Loss = Bone Loss

The loss of teeth create many problems from the dissolving away of bone structure, loss of support for the face giving an increased appearance of age and wrinkles, damage to the remaining teeth that must still bear the full stresses of chewing. Once enough teeth are missing then food choices and nutritional changes begin to cause medical problems and affect your general well being.

Click on the topics below to learn about tooth loss and these changes:

Loss of a Single Tooth

Even after the loss of one tooth, the jaw bone irreversibly changes if an implant does not replace the tooth.

Without chewing pressure to stimulate the bone, it begins to dissolve away immediately after extraction and continues forever unless an implant is placed. If left long enough, bone grafting is necessary before an implant can be used. The last picture above shows when the bone loss has reached the severe state.

Loss of an Entire Jaw of Teeth

Below a healthy jaw is compared to one where all of the teeth have been removed and deterioration of the jaw occurs. The deterioration is described beneath the very last picture in the series.

As the bone shrinks, vital structures (such as the nerve) become exposed. The denture then pushes on this nerve making the denture even more painful to wear.

Facial Cosmetic Problems after Tooth Loss

The deterioration of the jaw bones effects the appearance of how the face “drapes” over the bone. This makes you look far older then your natural age and adds more non-age related wrinkles then mother nature intended for you.

Facial Shrinkage

Facial sagging, premature ageing, and loss of function are the results of the shrinkage in the upper and lower jaw bones.

Tooth Drifting and Destruction to the Remaining Teeth

When all teeth are present and touching throughout the mouth the teeth support each other much like the bricks in a Roman archway.

When teeth are missing, the opposite teeth have no “counter acting force” and will erupt upward into the mouth.

When no back teeth are touching the stress is now placed on the front teeth, this ‘overloads’ them and forces them to move forward and outward.

When back molars are missing the damage is even more serious.

The back chewing teeth begin to erupt down into the empty spaces where the lower molar teeth are missing.

The back chewing teeth drop even further down into the lower missing teeth spaces.

The chewing forces have shifted to the front teeth and due to overloaded stress the front teeth begin to flare and fan apart creating spaces.

The fanning and spaces get worse over time.

This fanning eventually leads to looseness and gum disease and the loss of the front teeth.


This example is an example of the “fanning out” and opening of front spaces due to the missing back teeth. These teeth are no longer savable.

When two molars are missing, the upper teeth erupt down.

The upper teeth over erupting downward.

This shows severe over eruption of an upper molar with most of this tooth’s roots now being out of the bone structure. The tooth will become loose and fall out during chewing and usually at an inconvenient time.

Even a single missing teeth can lead to drift (this is just like taking a brick out of an arch way and seeing the arch collapse). That one missing tooth can set you up for a “domino effect” of losing teeth for the rest of your life.

The next molar beings to drift forward.

Gum disease due to the movement and misalignment of the teeth can cause more tooth loss and decay.

Sinus Expansion Destroying Bone When Upper Teeth are Missing

When the upper teeth are present the sinus stays in its proper position.

Missing upper teeth.

One the teeth are missing, the sinus begins to expand and destroy bone from the “inside out.”

Teeth in the bottom jaw erupt and traumatize the upper gum tissue. If a partial denture is being worn it causes bone damage from the other side of the sinus doubling the deterioration.

If the sinus is looked at internally (in cross-section), one can see that the walls become paper thin in all directions.

In order to restore the missing bone structure, a predictable procedure called “sinus lifting” is done to regrown the damaged and missing bone. This allows implants to be used in these areas.

Headaches from Missing Teeth

Without the support of back chewing teeth, as the teeth randomly drift, unusual dental bites develop that cause excessive stress and damage to the joints (TMJ) that connect the two jaw bones with pain and headaches being a common side effect.