When a tooth is lost, the specialized bony process that houses the tooth begins to reabsorb due to lack of stimulation. This causes a decrease in width and height of the bone in the area the tooth is lost. Neighboring teeth and opposing teeth begin to move into the space. This causes food lodgement, subsequent decay, gum disease and abnormal forces being transmitted to teeth leading to the fracture of cusps which may necessitate root canal treatment or extraction. Loss of teeth can also cause the cheek and lips to collapse giving an aged look.
Another option to replace missing teeth is a removable partial denture or complete denture depending on the number of teeth missing. The chewing efficiency with a denture is reduced to more than half of that of natural teeth. The teeth that support the partial denture are weakened due to the excessive loads acting on them and eventually are lost. The denture rests on the gum causing tissue abrasion and bone loss. Removable dentures may slip or cause embarrassing clicking sounds while eating or speaking.
Studies show that within five to seven years there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture.