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Adult Tooth Loss aka Edentulism

Treatment options to replace missing teeth.

What is Edentulism?

Edentulism is the condition of having missing teeth. Edentulism in adults refers to missing some permanent teeth (known as partially edentulous) or missing all teeth (known as completely edentulous). This can be a natural occurrence when someone is born without the tooth bud(s) necessary to develop permanent teeth, or teeth could be lost due to an accident, gum disease, extensive tooth decay, or an underlying health condition. Newborn babies are considered edentulous since their teeth are hidden under their gums.

Our teeth serve several important functions:

  • Digestion - Teeth are a part of your digestive system. Your teeth cut, crush and grind food before you swallow. This allows food to continue through the digestive process.
  • Facial Structure - In addition to affecting your personal appearance, your teeth help maintain the jawbone and length of your face. A sunken and hollow appearance may be the result of missing teeth.
  • Speech -Your teeth, tongue and lips work together to pronounce words. The way your teeth meet, how your jaws move and the way your tongue moves around your teeth can affect your speech. Missing teeth can impact how you pronounce words.

Symptoms of Potential Tooth Loss

Early signs include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding or receding gums
  • Infection
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Deep gum pockets

Edentulism can be prevented with good oral hygiene, healthy diet, and regular dental visits.

Treatment Options for Missing Teeth

Your treatment options depend on the number of missing teeth, the bone level, your oral health, prognosis, and out-of-pocket budget. The treatment options, including bridges, implants, and dentures, are categorized under Class C Major Services. To avoid surprise costs, request a pre-treatment estimate before starting treatment. A number of services are subject to dental review and an alternate benefit may apply.

  • Complete Edentulism: Missing all of the teeth on both lower and upper arch. Treatment options for complete edentulism include full upper and lower dentures, upper and lower implant dentures, implant supported bridges, or full mouth implants.
  • Partial Edentulism: Missing one or more teeth in the mouth. Treatment options for partial edentulism include removable partial dentures, bridges, implant-supported bridges, or single implants.

Note: The information in this document is not meant to replace the advice of your dentist or another licensed healthcare professional. Talk to your dentist for any specific dental advice.