Some of the oral health problems of older adults arise from loss of function, which is catalyzed by changes in oral health induced by systemic disease and its treatment. The successful maintenance of a healthy gingival to root surface interface depends on the development of appropriate dental and gingival contours to facilitate self-cleansing and proper hygiene procedures by the patient. This article, with the use of case histories, discusses only one of the complications to restorative care in older adults, that is, loss of function and its relationship to marginal placement. Prevention of oral disease in the older adult may require modification of the long-held periodontal/restorative philosophy of placing margins above the tissue wherever possible. In addition, the professional prophylaxis of restorations adjacent to the gingival margin must address the problems of the creation of a roughened surface by abrasion to composites from pastes and polishing.