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Press Release Category Health - Dentistry - Release Date: June 09, 2008

Research Shows That Not Replacing a Missing Tooth Increases Risk of Losing More Teeth

June 09, 2008
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When faced with the loss of a tooth many people choose not to replace it. Research shows that not replacing a missing tooth increases the risk of losing adjacent teeth. Some methods of tooth replacement increase the risk of tooth loss even further. Data shows that the least expensive choice may be the most expensive in the long run. Consumers can use this data to make the best decisions regarding their own dental heath.

PR9.NET June 09, 2008 - Babylon, New York – Most people think that losing and not replacing a missing tooth is a one tooth problem. Research now shows that leaving a missing tooth with no replacement increases a person's risk of losing the adjacent teeth. Even worse is the news that choosing the wrong method of tooth replacement increases the loss of adjacent teeth even further.

When a tooth is lost the common methods for replacing it include a tooth supported bridge, an implant supported crown, or a removable partial denture. A person may also choose not to replace the tooth. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association by Shugars shows some startling data. If the missing tooth is not replaced, 19% of adjacent teeth are lost. If the space is replaced with a tooth supported bridge, 10% of adjacent teeth were lost, and if a removable partial denture was used, 30% of the teeth were lost.

A study of 317 patients by Permanente Dental Associates looked at 317 patients and found 13% tooth loss if the space was untreated, 7% tooth loss if treated with a tooth supported bridge, and 17% tooth loss with a removable partial denture.

A report from Truman Medical Center found that over 7-8 years of follow up, 12% of adjacent teeth failed if left untreated, 7% for a tooth supported bridge, and 22% for a removable partial denture.

We can see that if a missing tooth is not replaced the loss of adjacent teeth ranges from 12%-19%. Tooth supported bridges improve survival with tooth loss from 7%-10%. Removable partial dentures increase abutment tooth loss from 17% to 30% at 4-7 years.

Dr. David Scharf, is a Board Certified Periodontist and Dental Implant Surgeon and a Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University College of Dentistry. He says "Many times consumers will choose to replace a missing tooth with a removable partial denture because it is the least expensive option. In the long run however, removable partial dentures may be more costly due the loss of adjacent teeth and the need for future replacements. Many people opt to replace teeth with dental implants because they do not compromise the survival of the adjacent teeth." Dr. Scharf notes "With the price of gasoline and food soaring people try to cut back wherever they can. Unfortunately choosing the least expensive options for tooth replacement can have some very costly ramifications down the road."

When a tooth is lost it can be left missing or it can be replaced with a dental implant, a tooth supported bridge or a removable partial denture. No replacement raises the risk of adjacent tooth loss and replacement with a partial denture is even higher with that. Replacement with a tooth supported bridge improves tooth survival over no replacement. Using a dental implant is the most conservative and longest lasting method of tooth replacement. Interested parties can read more about this topic at

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Phone (631) 661-6633
FAX (631) 661-6645
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Address 98 East Main Street, Babylon, New York 11702


Dr. David Scharf is a Board Certified Periodontist treating periodontal disease and placing dental implants in Babylon, Suffolk County, Long Island New York. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Information about Periodontics and Dental Implants can be found at

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