Tooth Loss is defined as the process in which one or more teeth become loose and then fall out. Tooth loss is considered as normal process for deciduous teeth (milk or baby teeth), when they are being replaced by permanent teeth (adult teeth). Otherwise, losing teeth is undesirable and is the result of dental injury or oral disease, such as dental trauma, tooth decay, and gum disease. The condition of being toothless or missing one or more teeth is known as edentulism.
What Are The Common Causes Of Tooth Loss?
- Tooth decay (dental caries), the most common reason causing tooth loss to happen.
- Dental or facial trauma such as direct blow to the face from failing.
- Bad oral hygiene, which results in bad periodontal (gum) health.
- Poor nutrition or lack of nutrition.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding), which may cause irreversible damage to your teeth.
- Systemic diseases such as diabetic mellitus.
- Frequent intake of sugary food, which results in high caries risk.
- Tongue thrusting habit.
- Periapical lesion of the teeth (some of these teeth may need to be extracted).
- Diseases of oral tissues or jaw bones.
- Oral cancer.
What Are The Consequences Of Tooth Loss?
- Alveolar bone resorption- this makes prosthetic replacement of missing teeth difficult,
- Impairment of mastication (chewing)- loss of teeth could decrease the efficiency of chewing food. In severe cases, the patients are forced to have soft diet instead.
- Poor nutrition intake- intake of fibrous food is reduced due to decreases efficiency in chewing food. This results in malnutrition.
- Speech impairment- Patient may not able to speak properly due to loss of certain teeth.
- Change of facial appearance- Massive loss of teeth may cause reduction in vertical facial height, thus resulting in unpleasant facial appearance.
- Psychosocial impact- Patients will be developing low self-esteem when when interacting with other people.
What Are The Treatment Options Available In Replacing The Missing Teeth?
Several treatment options are available to replace the missing teeth in your oral cavity. Each of these treatment options has their own advantages, disadvantages, indications and contraindications. Always consult your dentist in order to determine the best treatment of choice according to your oral conditions.
The treatment options are listed below:
- Dental Implant
- Dental Bridge
- Dentures (Complete or Partial Dentures)
- Acrylic Dentures
- Cast Partial Dentures
It is very essential for the dentists to consider a patient’s medical, financial, and emotional status when the dentists are determining the best treatment of choice. According to the recent studies, it has been shown that a non-removable dental replacement (such as a dental bridge or a dental implant) appear to provide best sense of security and well-being for the patients as compared to the removable dental prosthesis (such as dentures).
Even though treatments are available for the replacement of the missing tooth/teeth, tooth loss should always be prevented in the first place. It is advisable to practice a good dental hygiene routine which includes daily toothbrushing, dental flossing, use of mouthwash and tongue cleaning for a good oral health.
Article written by,
Dr. Wong Kee Cheong (Tommy)
BDS (AIMST), MBA (SEGi), YCDP