Consequences of Missing all Teeth
Your natural teeth are held securely in place by their roots in the jawbone. Disease, decay, or trauma may lead to the loss of all of one’s teeth. The roots had previously stimulated the surrounding bone, maintaining the jaw’s natural shape. However, with no roots in place, the jawbone will begin to resorb or shrink, because it no longer serves the purpose that nature intended.
The effects of missing teeth extend far beyond just having a toothless jaw. When teeth are missing from the jaw, the jaw bone shrinks, as it is no longer stimulated by the roots. When all teeth are missing from the jawbone, the entire jaw shrinks and thins.
Take a look at the images below to see the progression of jaw bone shrinkage due to missing teeth. Here, we see the loss of bone height from a profile view. Note that as more bone is lost, vital structures - such as nerves - become exposed.