We're implementing new safety protocols related to COVID-19: (Learn More)


So you already extracted your tooth and now you are wondering what can possibly happen when you have a missing tooth. Can we just let it be? This blog is written as a patient perspective on missing teeth.

I admit it, the first time I had tooth extraction- I didn’t really think about replacing it. I just felt like “OK one tooth missing is probably not a big deal. Now I should take care of the other ones. I don’t want to lose one of you anymore!” That’s just it. So I investigated a little deeper on what the consequences are after teeth are being extracted. Also what I could do to replace the missing tooth or teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, the average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth. So you are not the only one if you are missing a tooth or more. Additionally, the consequences of missing a tooth or teeth lead to moderate to severe health and social problems.


Problems eating

Every tooth performs a particular task in the eating process. For example, the incisors are for biting, while the molars and premolars have been designed to grind food. Missing even one tooth will affect the normal chewing process. Missing teeth can lead to only being able to consume foods that are easy-to-chew. The change in diet and inability to eat certain foods can lead to digestive problems and other health issues.

Malnutrition, inability to masticate healthy foods

One of the major factors in losing teeth is your ability to eat a certain kind of foods. You may find yourself looking at a menu to decide on the foods you ‘can’ eat rather than the foods you ‘want’ to eat.

You may have to change your diet depending on the location of your missing tooth. We use our teeth to tear, shred and grind up our food. Especially when we eat meat. That may become a problem because it involves a lot of chewing with the back teeth. Also when you bite a crisp, whole apple you may not be able to do it if you are missing your front teeth. You may find you do not chew well enough and what is swallowed is difficult to digest.

Pain while eating

Missing teeth will affect the way you chew your food and swallowing problems will arise as a result. When your food is not properly broken down into very small pieces, swallowing will be a huge problem and this really affects the digestion. This is also one of the many reasons why most children have swallowing problems. This is because they don’t have fully developed teeth. This is just exactly what happens to adults with missing teeth. Some chunks of food will end up being swallowed whole and this is very dangerous.

Occlusal/bite relationship problems (teeth shifting out of alignment)

Because there are gaps between your teeth, the tooth next to that gap will move to cause a collapse of occlusion. When your bite doesn’t feel right, it can be frustrating and even really painful. We use our mouth everyday especially when we eat. We bite so many times each day, and having a bad bite is like walking for miles with a rock in your shoe. Even small imperfections can have a dramatic impact when endured in a long time.

Our jaw is one of the strongest bone and chewing can generate a strong force. It can be as strong as several hundred pounds of force per square inch. Imagine if your teeth do not bite down evenly- all of the exerted force can land on a single tooth. Your jaw muscles might need to overcompensate, creating imbalance and soreness in your jaw.

If you think that you might need an occlusal adjustment, contact our office today to set up an appointment with Dr. Stella Oh or Dr. Estafan.

Problems with speech

What are the apparent causes of missing tooth? Speech. Missing Teeth Affect Your Speech. If your teeth are missing, you may experience slurring some words, depending on which part of your mouth has larger gaps. Incomplete teeth will undoubtedly change your pronunciation and how much you need to put into saying them without spitting or lisping.

Problems with appearance

Do you think that the shape of your face will change when you have a missing tooth? Quick answer – YES. A missing tooth in the front of your mouth can feel like a nightmare. It’s very obvious, embarrassing, and you really want it to be repaired immediately.

But when you’re missing a molar, it may feel like an oral health problem that isn’t that urgent. After all, who would see all the way back in your mouth all that often when you talk? But that isn’t right. You should have the same level of concern for any missing tooth you will have. WHY? It’s because missing teeth anywhere in your mouth will eventually change the shape of your face.

Having one missing tooth makes it more likely to lose more

There is a loss of self-image and self-esteem and a feeling that you are getting old. Once you start losing your teeth, you can actually start to look older. Losing a tooth is pretty serious. The longer you will wait after a tooth is extracted, the more difficult and expensive it can become to make the replacement you need.

If your missing tooth is replaced right away after it was removed, you will have a less complicated restorative challenge in the future. It would be easier to restore your smile and also you will not encounter serious problems caused by missing teeth.

As what Dr. Stella Oh said, “The more teeth are lost, the more the remaining ones get abused”


Besides having multiple missing teeth can lead to a nutritional problem because of inability to eat variety healthy foods like nuts, vegetables, and fruits, it has other medical conditions correlated. For instance, there is a higher correlation with diabetes, dementia, a metabolic disease with missing teeth. Researchers found in recent years that crunch foods like nuts and hard vegetables can help the brain produce BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors. This is just one of the absolute important reasons to replace missing teeth.



Dental implants can help you avoid the consequences of missing teeth and implants are the number 1 choice for missing teeth. They do not involve cutting outer teeth and dental implants are highly predictable. In our office, Dr. Oh maintain’s over 95% success rate of the implants after 10-15 year. Unless other factors are involved, a dental implant would be the number one choice.

Fixed Bridge

A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth.. Fixed bridges can Restore your smile, Restore the ability to properly chew and speak, Maintain the shape of your face, Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth and Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.

Maryland Bridge

Also called an adhesive bridge. This is essentially a crown with wings on either side whic enables affixing the crown to the adjacent teeth on the posterior side. It is relatively a quick solution and eliminates the need for surgical procedures.

Removable treatment

Removable partial dentures are exactly what the name implies: a denture that is removable and covers part of the mouth. Removable partials are designed to be held in your mouth with clasps that grab onto your remaining natural teeth but can be removed and reinserted without professional help. While removable partial dentures will last patients about 3-5 years, they may have a negative effect on the health of the surrounding teeth, gums, and bones.


Nearly 40% of the patients reported that they had never gotten professional dental maintenance.

Only 13% said they had gotten professional dental care in the six months before their tooth extraction.

Most patients — 60% — said they never or only occasionally brushed their teeth. Only about 16% reported brushing their teeth at least twice daily. This is from WebMD.

The only thing that we can avoid tooth extractions is to really take care of your teeth. And to restore your teeth right away after it is extracted or when you notice some minor dental problems. Contact your dentist and discuss the best procedures for your teeth.


When your smile is incomplete, your overall health will also be compromised. Missing teeth mean you’ll be unable to chew certain foods that are important to a healthy diet, like crunchy vegetables, crisp fruits, and lean proteins. You’ll find yourself relying on a softer fare, like kinds of pasta and soups, and that kind of diet can only get you so far in your nutritional goals.

Dentures and dental implants are some of the best treatment options you can use to replace missing teeth and we offer them here at Madison Avenue Dentists. Dr. Stella Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan are experts when it comes to restorative dentistry and the whole Madison Avenue Dentists team offers a wide range of dental services.

You can check them here or book an appointment to let us help you decide which procedure is best for your teeth.



You Might Also Enjoy...


In recent decades, porcelain veneers have become reshaped cosmetic dentistry. They are certainly one of Dr. Stella Oh’s favorite and specialized procedures in her practice.


Have you ever had an experience with gum soreness that involves either pain, bleeding or swelling? Many of us have had at least one or more times where such gum soreness occurs in the mouth.