It is estimated that about 46 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are missing six or more teeth. This is a problem because, aside from leaving unsightly gaps, missing teeth compromise chewing ability. Equally important, missing teeth tend to throw the bite off balance, which leads to malocclusion (“bad bite”) and increased likelihood of damage occurring to the remaining teeth. Malocclusion also increases the prospect of gum disease and may be a contributing factor to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Beyond these effects, there is the serious potential for misalignments of remaining teeth due to lack of support and restraint from missing teeth. These are all good reasons to see the dentist immediately after losing a tooth.
P.S. Twenty percent of Americans over age 65 have lost all their teeth.