Edentulism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Edentulism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman


Approximately 120 million Americans have at least one missing tooth. These numbers are expected to increase exponentially over the next two decades. Tooth loss or edentulism is a condition that results in one or more missing teeth.  

There are two types of edentulism:

  • Partial edentulism - loss of one or some teeth 
  • Complete edentulism - loss of all teeth

If ignored, edentulism can lead to:

  • Change in facial features
  • Difficulty in eating and speaking 
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Loss of bone and gum tissue
  • Low self-esteem and confidence

Causes of Edentulism

Edentulism is mostly associated with the elderly, but it can also affect children and adults who neglect proper oral hygiene. 

Main causes of tooth loss in the elderly can include:

  • Old fillings
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum recession
  • Plaque 

Causes of tooth loss in adults may include:

  • Cavity and gum disease
  • Smoking
  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes 

Main causes of tooth loss in children can be:

  • Premature loss of baby teeth 
  • Permanent loss due to injury or neglect
  • Dental caries

Other causes of edentulism are: 

  • Not brushing and flossing on a regular basis. 
  • Smoking, chewing tobacco, or use of drugs. 
  • Postponing dental check-ups and cleaning due to high dental treatment costs.
  • Weak immunity due to treatments such as chemotherapy and head radiation therapy.
  • High consumption of fast food and sugar-laden beverages.

Symptoms of Edentulism

Symptoms of edentulism usually include partial or total teeth loss. Other symptoms can be: 

  • Gum infection
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth
  • Gaps or pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Abscessed gums
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

Treatment for Edentulism

In the case of partial edentulism, your dentist may suggest preventive measures to keep the remaining teeth intact and healthy. Tooth replacement is the only option in case of total edentulism. Here are a few tooth restoration methods that may be recommended by your dentist:

  • Dental Implants

    A dental implant is a procedure that surgically attaches an artificial tooth root to the jaws. Dental implants give a natural look and are more stable and long-lasting. They stimulate the bone under the tooth, preventing bone loss.

  • Denture Implants 

    Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth and attached tissues. If you have some remaining natural teeth, partial dentures can fill up the missing spaces and help prevent the remaining teeth from shifting. Complete dentures are usually recommended in the case of complete teeth loss.

  • Dental Bridge

    This is a process wherein a false tooth is attached between two porcelain crowns to bridge the space created by the missing tooth. The dental bridge supported by the two crowns is then cemented to the teeth on each side of the space. The bridge is thus secured into place and is non-removable. 

Proper dental care, balanced diet, and regular check-ups go a long way in maintaining your oral health.

If you want to learn more about the causes and treatment of tooth loss, contact us. Remember, your trusted dentist in Des Moines is just a phone call away!

Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman

Smiles on Hickman is a family dental practice located in Des Moines, IA. We are committed to providing the best, personalized dental care solutions to patients and their families. Our well-trained and experienced team of dentist in Des Moines,IA ensures that our patients feel comfortable during their visit with us. We use advanced dental techniques that enable us to provide quality care in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, sedation dentistry, oral surgery, and more. We strive to form long-lasting bonds with all our patients and offer them a lifetime of healthy smiles.