Why Do Teeth Fall Out in Adults?

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT
What teeth problems can tell about your overall health
According to research from the American Academy of Prosthodontists, approximately 50% of the population, around 178 million adults over the age of 18, are missing at least one tooth. Approximately 40 million of those are missing all of their adult teeth. This phenomenon is more common in adults over the age of 64. There are several possible reasons why this is so common.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Loss in Adults

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of tooth loss, including:

  • Stop smoking and reduce/stop alcohol consumption
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Minimize sugar intake
  • Give up sugary, carbonated beverages
  • Practice proper oral hygiene, including preventive dental visits every 6 months

If you have a chronic condition or other risk factors, monitor your oral and overall health and schedule visits with your medical team regularly to detect potential issues before they escalate.

Top 4 Reasons for Adult Tooth Loss

Your permanent, or secondary, teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, for about half of the population, this is not the case. There are several common reasons for tooth loss in adults, including:

  • Poor Dental Hygiene

    You should be brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste at least twice daily, and you should floss before bed to remove any food debris from between the teeth. You may also wish to use an alcohol-free mouthwash to further reduce bacteria buildup. In addition, you should visit the dentist every 6 months for a comprehensive exam and cleaning. This allows the dentist to catch any issues before they become a serious problem.

    Unfortunately, many adults do not follow these protocols, which causes the development of tooth decay and ultimately, tooth loss.

  • Traumatic Injury

    Trauma, such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, and falls can cause teeth to fall out. In some cases, the tooth is knocked completely out at the time of the injury. Other times, the tooth is damaged and comes out later on.

  • Gum Disease

    Gum disease, often the result of poor oral hygiene, is a condition in which spaces- or pockets- develop between the teeth and gums. Eventually, the gums begin to recede, and the jawbone begins to deteriorate, leading to tooth loss.

    There are several stages of gum disease. The first is gingivitis. This is characterized by inflammation and bleeding in the gums. Typically, this stage is reversible by practicing proper oral hygiene habits. However, if left untreated, it can progress into a condition known as periodontitis, which requires extensive treatment.

Problems associated with Adult Tooth Loss

Missing teeth can lead to many oral and overall health issues such as:

  • Difficulty biting/chewing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Poor self-confidence
  • Additional tooth loss
  • Gum disease

Even one missing tooth can perpetuate the cycle. Therefore, it’s important to consider tooth replacement options to mitigate these problems.

Treatment Options for Tooth Loss

The most common tooth replacement options include:
  • Dental Implants - “The Gold Standard”

    Dental experts consider dental implants to be the “gold standard” of tooth replacement because they look, feel, and function more like natural teeth. The process of getting dental implants usually takes several months to a year or more, depending on how your body heals.

    The process starts with a consultation to determine your oral health and if you are suited for implants. In some cases, preliminary procedures are required, which include bone grafting, tooth extraction, gum disease treatment, and more.

    While many dental insurance providers recognize the functional benefits of dental implants, many others still classify this as cosmetic and will not cover treatment. 

    The average cost of a single dental implant is around $4,000. Full-mouth restoration often costs $35,000+.

  • Dentures - “The Go to Choice for Most”

    The most common tooth replacement option is conventional dentures because they are the most affordable and, in most cases, dental insurance will pay a portion of the cost.

    These consist of a pink acrylic base that sits on the gums. Porcelain or acrylic teeth are embedded in the acrylic. While these do restore some function and aesthetics, they slip and slide around in the mouth and may even fall out when eating or talking. A denture plate can replace some (partial) or all (complete) teeth in a single arch.

    The average cost of conventional dentures ranges from around $1,800 to $3,000 without dental insurance.

    Another option is implant-supported dentures, which are conventional dentures secured to dental implants. The implants provide a stable base for the dentures to sit so they don’t slip and slide around in the mouth. This is considered a hybrid option because it combines the affordability of conventional dentures with the stability of dental implants.

    The average cost of implant-supported dentures ranges from around $6,000to $28,000 per arch. 

    This depends on several factors including the type of implant and denture chosen, the experience/expertise of the dentist, the location of the dentist, additional procedures required, and more.  Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of the denture but does not always cover implants.

  • Dental Crowns - “The Easier Option”

    A dental crown is often used to restore a severely damaged tooth. However, it may also be used along with a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Dental crowns can be porcelain, acrylic, metal, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    Many dental insurance providers will cover a portion of the cost of dental crowns- if the primary purpose is functional. For patients who choose a crown for appearance reasons, insurance may not cover treatment.

    The cost of a dental crown ranges from $800 to $2,500, depending on the material used, additional procedures required, the location of the tooth, and other factors including the experience/expertise of the dentist and the location of the dental clinic.

  • Dental Bridges - “For Multiple Missing Teeth”

    A dental bridge is designed to replace several missing teeth in a row. A traditional dental bridge is secured to the adjacent teeth on each side of the gap with dental crowns. An implant-supported crown requires dental implants to be placed on each side of the gap for the artificial teeth to attach to.

    Many dental plans will cover a portion of traditional dental bridges and may cover the prosthesis of an implant-supported bridge.

    The average cost of a dental bridge ranges from around $2,800 to $5,000+.

Replace your Missing Teeth with Our Advanced Dental Clinic in Salt Lake City, UT

Legacy Dental offers Dental Implants, Implant Retained Dentures, Partial Dentures and all-on-4 Dental Implants for People who wish to restore their smile. Our Clinic is located at 1345 E 3900 S STE 116, Salt Lake City, UT 84124.

Give us a Call or Book an appointment for your next dental visit.

We also provide Free Virtual Consultations so you can be certain of your treatment.


Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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