Tooth loss

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Tooth loss
Cross section of a human tooth

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Tooth loss is defined as the premature loss of teeth. Tooth loss is normal for deciduous teeth (baby teeth), when they are replaced by a person's adult teeth. Otherwise, losing teeth is undesirable and is the result of injury or disease, such as mouth trauma, tooth injury, tooth decay, and gum disease.

The condition of being toothless or missing one or more teeth, is called edentulism.

Differential Diagnosis of Causes of Tooth Loss

In alphabetical order. [1] [2]

Prevention of tooth loss

Tooth loss due to tooth decay and gum disease may be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, and regular check-ups (twice per year) at the dentist's office.

In contact sports, risk of mouth trauma and tooth injury is reduced by wearing mouthguards and helmets with a facemask (e.g., football helmet, and goalie mask).

Missing tooth replacement

There are three basic ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth, including a fixed dental bridge, dentures, and dental implants.


  1. Sailer, Christian, Wasner, Susanne. Differential Diagnosis Pocket. Hermosa Beach, CA: Borm Bruckmeir Publishing LLC, 2002:77 ISBN 1591032016
  2. Kahan, Scott, Smith, Ellen G. In A Page: Signs and Symptoms. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2004:68 ISBN 140510368X

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