Tooth loss can lead to confidence blow for patients

Dental patients who suffer tooth loss can also suffer psychologically.

That’s according to a US dentist who stresses the importance of dentists helping patients cope with – and understand – the options for restoring their smile.

‘The major impact of tooth loss is on the appearance and social relations component of quality of life because people cannot change their appearance with missing teeth,’ says Asuman Kiyak, who will be addressing Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) 56th Annual Meeting & Exhibits in Orlando, US, on the subject.

Recent results, from a survey distributed to nearly 20,000 AGD members, revealed that more than 86% of general dentists reported social embarrassment is one of the greatest problems associated with tooth loss and more than half of these patients avoid social interaction because of it.

Yet, Dr Kiyak noted that there are ways that patients can learn how to cope with the loss of a tooth.

Dr Kiyak encourages patients to:
• Weigh their options with the pros and cons for replacement teeth or even endodontic treatment to save a ‘hopeless’ tooth.
• Review videos or still photos of others who have lost teeth and their current teeth status with removable or implant-supported dentures.
• Read testimonials of others who have undergone single, multiple, total tooth loss and replacement of these teeth with removable or implant-supported dentures, how they have coped with each stage and how they are functioning orally, systemically and psychologically with these dentures.

‘A smile serves as an individual’s most powerful tool,’ says AGD spokesperson Laura Murcko. ‘A great smile can make a great lasting impression, boost a person’s self-esteem and confidence as well as improve their overall health.’

Dr Kiyak’s course – Enhancing the Oral Health and Quality of Life for Partially Edentulous or Fully Edentulous Patients: The Importance of Communication – will reveal the post-traumatic effects a patient endures after the loss of a tooth and offer tips to dentists on helping the patient cope with this.

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