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Teeth Loss and Remedies

What is Teeth Loss?

Teeth loss is a common oral problem. Nine out of 10 adults have at least one lost tooth. Many people consider the temporary effects mild and ignore it. In fact, teeth loss not only hinders chewing and eating, but also affects appearance and self-confidence. In severe cases, it could result in malnutrition and even complete teeth loss. Almost one out of every four people in the world is at risk of losing all their teeth. Therefore, if you suffer from teeth loss, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Why is there teeth loss?

3 common reasons for teeth loss:

  1. Chronic periodontal disease causes gradual gum recession, loosens tooth roots and eventually passive tooth extraction.
  2. Tooth decay not repaired in time results in passive tooth extraction.
  3. Dental traumas (including accidentally broken teeth, various kinds of wear and tear of teeth, etc.) and others.

What are the consequences of ignoring teeth loss?

If you think the lack of one or two teeth has limited impact, you are wrong. Underestimating teeth loss and missing the best time to seek medical attention may eventually lead to serious consequences:

  • Affects chewing, pronunciation and facial appearance
  • The teeth around the lost teeth may become tilted and displaced, resulting in gaps and overcrowding which lead to biting system disorders
  • May cause jawbone and gum recession
  • Increases pressure on the other teeth while biting, which could lead to premature loosening

How to solve the problem of teeth loss?

Removable Dentures

Removable dentures are dentures that the patient can wear or remove on their own. Dentures are usually custom-made by the dentist according to the patient’s oral conditions. Metal hooks are used to hook dentures to real teeth as supports to fill up the areas with teeth loss.

Advantages: easy to wear, no need for surgery and relatively cheap compared with other dentures

Disadvantages: relatively poor biting force and appearance, causes difficulty chewing, feeling strange, impose pressure on gum and dental bone, could scratch and hurt the gum and soft tissue. It is made of plastic and needs to be repaired every 3 to 4 years

Traditional Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are fixed dentures that fit securely in the oral cavity to replace one or more lost teeth. They are fixed onto adjacent or remaining teeth using the protruding parts on both sides of the dental bridges as the abutments.

Advantages: No surgery is required, moderate cost, stronger biting force and better appearance than removable dentures

Disadvantages: In order to accommodate the bridges, it is necessary to grind part of the real teeth next to the lost teeth. If the bridges are not ideally designed, they will make it difficult to clean the real teeth covered by the dentures and increase the risk of tooth decay. If there are problems with the teeth under the bridges, the entire bridges may need to be removed to repair or remove the problematic teeth.

Dental Implant / Implantation

Advantages: no need to grind the teeth next to the lost teeth, reducing the risk of dental bone and gum atrophy. The biting ability and appearance are similar to real teeth with high durability (10-year survival rate as high as 95%)

Disadvantages: requires surgical installation, relatively high initial treatment cost and relatively long treatment time

What is dental implant?

Dental implant (also known as dental implantation) is a major treatment for teeth loss. Titanium implants (teeth posts) are implanted into the alveolar bone as holds. After the titanium is fused with the jawbone, artificial crowns will be inlaid. Today, the success rate of artificial dental implants in 10 years of clinical use has exceeded 90%, proving that it has become a mature and stable therapeutic technology.

Benefits of Dental Implant

  • The new teeth have the same strength as other teeth with normal chewing ability
  • The crowns look very similar to real teeth
  • No need to grind adjacent real teeth for support
  • The hassle of removable dentures can be avoided

Who need dental implant?

  • Loss of one or more teeth
  • Unable or unwilling to wear dentures
  • Not suitable for traditional dentures
  • Wish to improve speaking or chewing abilities

What is the process of dental implant?

The 3 stages of dental implant:

  1. The dentists will place implants and install temporary fixed dentures on the surgery day to maintain the appearance
  2. The implants will slowly fuse with the alveolar bone in about three months. After the bone and gum are healed and stabilized, impressions can be taken to make dentures
  3. After the dentures are made and properly installed, the patient can regain old appearance and normal biting ability

When is the best time for dental implant?

Generally about 3 months after tooth extraction, when the wounds have recovered and the gum and bone have stabilized. Having dental implant too early may leave gaps between the dentures and the gum, which will affect the appearance of the implant. If dental implant is performed too late, the teeth may become out of position, affecting the appearance of the teeth and chewing ability.

Can dental implant be conducted right after tooth extraction?

With the advancement of materials and technology, the success rate of immediate dental implant after tooth extraction has greatly improved under certain conditions such as uninfected implant site and intact bone. This is the most common for patients with front teeth broken due to accidents or sports.

The dentist usually uses minimally invasive methods to extract the teeth, then immediately implant dental implants and install fixed temporary dentures. After 3 to 4 months, when the gum and bone are stabilized, permanent dentures can be installed.

The benefit of this approach is that teeth removal and implant can be performed at the same time in a single surgery. Patients can wear fixed dentures immediately, reducing gum and bone atrophy.

Who is not suitable for dental implant?

Although dental implant has many advantages over other options for treating teeth loss, some people are not suitable for dental implant or need dentists to carefully evaluate the situations before having dental implant. For example:

  • People with severe dental atrophy
  • People who have received electrotherapy in the head and neck
  • People with poor wound healing ability (such as severe diabetic)
  • Patients with poor coagulation ability or who take anticoagulant drugs
  • Patients with poor oral hygiene or periodontal disease and frequent smokers (e.g. smoking 20 cigarettes per day)

Dental Implant Programme

  1. Single tooth implant
  2. Restoration of several teeth with implants and bridges
  3. Support complete removable denture with dental implants
  4. Computer is used to simulate minimally invasive dental implant surgery to support complete fixed dentures. Using 3D computer scan images to tailor make a surgical guide for the patient allows the dentist to accurately place the implants in the preset positions. With smaller wounds, the patient will experience less discomfort and recover more quickly.

Regular Check-ups to Ensure Oral Health

No matter what option you choose to treat your teeth loss, you need regular oral care and check-ups.

  • Have regular dental check-ups, have scaling twice a year and let your dentist check the conditions of your real teeth and implants
  • Take regular dental X-ray examinations, take periapical X-ray examinations (commonly known as small films) every 2 years to check the dental bone; take panoramic X-ray films (commonly known as large films) every 3 to 5 years to check all teeth

Other things to note

Record the brand you use

There are many brands of implants, so remember to ask the dentist about the brand and model of the implants to facilitate follow-up maintenance and the replacement of suitable parts in the future.

Choosing the Ideal Dental Clinic

To receive appropriate teeth loss treatment, in addition to experiences and good reputation, patients can also assess the dentists by the clinics’ equipment and supporting facilities. In particular, dental-specific 3D computer scanner is very important as it allows dentists to evaluate in detail the tissues and important structures (such as nerves, blood vessels, sinuses and maxillary sinuses, etc.) of the treatment area to minimize risks and complications. Experienced dentists can also perform minimally invasive dental implants with the help of computer simulation, reducing the time required for implantation and post-operative swelling and discomfort.