Naturally, according to Dr Charles Kasozi, a dental surgeon at Pan Dental Surgery in Naguru, the teeth were created in a way that they bite against each other. With tooth loss comes bone and gum recession and unnecessary horizontal movement of the neighbouring teeth.
For these reasons, Dr Kasozi remarks that one needs to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. There are several dental procedures aimed at replacing teeth. These include dental implants and bridges that are permanent solutions and dentures that are removable. A thorough discussion with your dentist will lead to which option fits your situation.
Dental implants can be loosely described as artificial replacements of the roots of the teeth. They are made of titanium (a bio-compatible material) and are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dental surgeon.
According to Dr Kasozi, implants are the most reliable tooth replacements and depending on where you choose to go and on the complexity of the procedure, its cost will range between Shs5m and Shs9m.
When a patient makes a dental implant their choice of tooth replacement, it should be done at least three to six months after tooth loss/extraction. In some cases, the dentist may choose to do an immediate dental implant placement after an extraction. This is dependent on the case and the decision to do so is made by the dentist on a case by case basis.
“Before the procedure starts, Dr Kasozi says, “The dentist makes a thorough dental and medical assessment of the patient. This includes the cause of tooth loss, patient’s blood pressure, blood sugar levels and whether they are taking any drugs, especially blood thinners as these might cause excessive bleeding after the procedure.”
The patient signs a consent form agreeing to the procedure and then the procedure can start. In some cases, the patient might need some other procedures related to implant placement. These include bone or tissue grafting and a sinus lift. In these cases, the gums will need stitching and these are removed after about 10 days.
When all these are fixed, Dr kasozi says, the patient is reviewed every month for at least three months before the implant crown is placed. After complete healing, another appointment is made during which an impression is taken for an implant crown.
According to Dr Kintu Sulaiman, a dental surgeon at Suham Dental Clinic, after the implant post is placed, the patient must rinse the mouth with warm salty water or with a mouth wash recommended by the dentist, gentle brushing of the implant site and chewing gently on the implant side. The patient is also given antibiotics and pain killers to take care of potential infections and pain.”
Dr Kasozi warns that implants, like any other dental procedure, can fail. These rare occurrences and can be a result of infection from a failed root canal treated tooth or periodontal disease.
According to Dr Ashar Cheptoris, a dentist at Sinai Dentals in Kamwokya, these are made up of one or several porcelain teeth attached to the neighbouring teeth. They come in different types and their names depend on the method of attachment that binds them to the neighbouring teeth.
“In order to do a bridge, it is necessary to prepare the adjacent teeth by cutting them because the conventional bridge must be supported. The replacement is not directly attached on the jawbone but rests on the gum,” says Cheptoris.
She says the cost of the bridge depends on the material used and service provider but can range between Shs500,000 and Shs700,000 per cap. If you are replacing one tooth, you need three caps since even two normal ones are cut. This can bring the total cost to between Shs1.5m and Shs2.1m.
These are a temporary way of replacing lost teeth. They require no cutting of any tissue and are just fixed on the gum according to Dr Kintu. Dentures are made from acrylic material that can be removed any time. He warns that at first they cause discomfort to the tongue but with time it gets used.
A denture costs between Shs300,000 and Shs500,000.