Tooth loss: Are the patients prepared?

  • VN Okoje
  • OO Dosumu
  • TO Alonge
  • C Onyeaso
Keywords: Emotional effects and denture rehabilitation, tooth loss


Background and Aim: Tooth loss is associated with esthetic, functional, psychological, and social impacts on the life of individuals. This study was designed to find out how Nigerians feel about losing their teeth and what effects, if any, this has on their lives. Most of the problems presented to the dentist as difficult denture tolerance could be as a result of the emotional effects of tooth loss rather than problems from the denture itself.
Materials and Methods: The study was carried using a self-administered questionnaire to consenting adult patients undergoing tooth extraction at the Oral and Maxillofacial Clinic, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. The data collected were analyzed using SPSS, version 15.5.
Results: A total of 90 respondents completed the questionnaires; 35 (27.6%) were males while 55 (43.3%) were females. The respondents were aged 0–70 years. Immediate acceptance of tooth loss was noted in 88 (69.3%) cases, but 6 (47%) accepted the loss only after 1 year, while 8 (6.3%) of the cases found it difficult to accept losing their teeth and incidentally, all of them were 30 years and above. Only 52 (40.9%) of the patients were prepared for the emotional effect of losing their teeth. A feeling of relief immediately following tooth extraction was expressed by 75 (43.9%) cases and of these 32 (47.8%) were females. The emotional effects following teeth loss were sadness 22 (12.9%) cases, depression in 11 (6.4%), feeling of losing body part in 24 (14%), feeling of aging in 4 (2.3%), while 13 (7.6%) respondents felt unconcerned.
Conclusion: We observed that emotional effects of tooth loss are also experienced among our patients with a range of emotions quite similar to those observed by previous authors from the developed world. The significant number of patients that failed to come to terms with their tooth loss indicates that the effect of tooth loss on self-esteem and selfimage is not short lived as it has been assumed.

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eISSN: 1119-3077