Life after tooth loss – Phillip Silver – Solvay Dental 360

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  Posted by: Dental Design      7th November 2019

Many different factors contribute to poor oral health, which can result in tooth loss over time. The life of the teeth is affected by poor oral hygiene practices, trauma, diet and lifestyle choices such as smoking, as well as health status.[1] Certainly, tooth loss is prevalent among middle-aged adults with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.[2] Furthermore, those taking medication or having treatment to address certain diseases may experience a sore or dry mouth (xerostomia) which can increase the chance of tooth decay and infection. Excessive wear from acid erosion, grinding, clenching or even using the teeth as tools can result in loss of enamel leaving the softer underlying dentin exposed and susceptible to rapid loss of substance.[3] In addition, dental caries and periodontal disease are major causes of tooth loss in adults.[4]

As we know, the loss of a tooth or teeth has the potential to impair quality of life considerably. It can cause difficulties with eating, speaking, smiling, daily performance and enjoying social contact.[5],[6] Yet as well as a gauge to quality of life, tooth loss may also be a major predictor for life expectancy. According to recent research, those who have a full set of teeth at the age of 74 are significantly more likely to reach the age of 100.[7] Furthermore, oral health may also be a helpful marker for systemic health as it has been discovered that those that had lost five teeth or more by the age of 65 were more likely to have other serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, all of which have the potential to shorten longevity.1,7

For obvious reasons, patients need to understand how important it is to pay close attention to their oral health and to have the mouth regularly checked for any signs of disease that could lead to tooth loss. But equally, when patients need to have a tooth extracted or have missing teeth, whether it is due to injury or disease, dental professionals should not underestimate the emotional impact it may have on some people. Frequently, patients feel relieved after an extraction, others experience a sense of resignation and some are completely unconcerned.  However, a study carried out at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Dental Institute revealed that people who have difficulty accepting tooth loss are more likely to lose confidence in themselves, feel inhibited carrying out everyday activities and less able to accept any changes to the shape of the face.[8] The effects on self-esteem and self-image may not be short lived either, as there is evidence of sadness, depression, loss, feeling old, dismayed and being socially restricted in individuals that have had problems coming to terms with losing their teeth.[9],[10]

Ensuring that patients are fully prepared and know what to expect prior to extraction, makes the procedure less stressful and enables them to cope better with the situation.

To put a positive spin on things, dental professionals should also discuss the options available to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Most patients are able to see the benefits and value of restoring aesthetics and function, yet some may not realise that once a tooth is removed, the surrounding teeth and structures can deteriorate through lack of support and may begin to drift or rotate, causing additional complications. Appropriate treatment should be discussed to quickly replace missing teeth before further damage occurs in order to protect oral health and quality of life.

For patients with strong and stable adjacent teeth, a fixed bridge to span a narrow space may be the most favourable option. For others a dental implant placed directly into a healthy jawbone is a popular choice. However, some patients may not be anatomically or medically suitable for dental implants, or may simply prefer a non-invasive, more affordable solution. A removable partial denture (RPD) can be used to replace one or more teeth, to restore function and aesthetics and maintain the stability of the remaining teeth with the added advantage that its performance does not depend upon the condition of the gums or neighbouring teeth. Most often RPDs consist of a frame made from cobalt-chrome or a flexible nylon material but more recently, Solvay Dental 360® has custom-developed a material called Ultaire® AKP specifically for the fabrication of RPD frames. This high-performance polymer fits perfectly into the digital workflow to produce an accurate fit with superior retention. It is biocompatible, strong and durable but also lightweight, comfortable for patients to wear and completely taste free.

By taking an innovative approach to the provision of RPDs, dental practitioners are better equipped to reduce the impact of tooth loss, restore oral health and preserve quality of life.

To book a Solvay Dental 360® Professional Lunch and Learn or to find more information Ultaire® AKP and Dentivera® milling discs,
please visit




[1] Friedman P.K et al. Tooth loss as a predictor of shortened longevity: exploring the hypothesis. Periodontol 2000. 2016 Oct;72(1):142-52. doi: 10.1111/prd.12128. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[2] Maia FBM et al. Tooth loss in middle-aged adults with diabetes and hypertension: Social determinants, health perceptions, oral impact on daily performance (OIDP) and treatment need. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2018 Mar; 23(2): e203–e210.

 [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[3] British Society for Restorative Dentistry. Tooth Wear Guidelines. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[4] World Health Organisation (WHO). Oral Health. September 2018.[Accessed 12th June 2019]

[5] Wandera M.N. et al. Periodontal status, tooth loss and self-reported periodontal problems effects on oral impacts on daily performances, OIDP, in pregnant women in Uganda: a cross-sectional study. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2009; 7: 89. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[6] Zeng X. et al. Relationship between dental status and Oral Impacts on Daily Performances in older Southern Chinese people. Journal of Public Health Dentistry; 70 (2) 101-107.

[Accessed 12th June 2019]

[7] Kaufman L. et al. An oral health study of centenarians and children of centenarians. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014;62(6):1168-73. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[8] Davis D.M. et al. The emotional effects of tooth loss: a preliminary quantitative study. Br Dent J. 2000 May 13;188(9):503-6. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[9] Okoje V.N. et al. Tooth loss: are the patients prepared? Niger J Clin Pract. 2012 Apr-Jun;15(2):172-5. [Accessed 12th June 2019]

[10] Shah R. J et al. A study of the emotional effects of tooth loss in an edentulous Gujarati population and its association with depression. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2015 Jul-Sep; 15(3): 237–243. [Accessed 12th June 2019]



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