Late presentation of teeth infections to dentists for appropriate treatment is the main reason Nigerians are losing their teeth, experts say.
The experts, a Consultant Prosthodontist/Implantologist and President, Nigerian Dental Association, Dr. Kolawole Obagbemiro; and a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Oluwarotimi Akanbi Clement, explained that when tooth decay is not treated on time, it will eventually lead to tooth loss.
They noted that when a tooth is damaged beyond repair, dentists are left with no option but to do tooth extraction.
According to Mayo Clinic, tooth extraction is the complete removal of one or more teeth from the mouth. It is a procedure that is usually performed by a dental surgeon.
Tooth extraction, it said, could be caused by tooth decay that cannot be treated with a filling or root canal work.
Other reasons for tooth extraction, Mayo Clinic stated, include, injury or trauma that damage a tooth beyond repair; dental gum abscess that weaken the root of the tooth and ‘malocclusion’ or crowding of teeth.
Sharing her experience on tooth extraction with our correspondent, Mrs. Sade Musa, a businesswoman and mother of three said while she already had two of her teeth extracted, she dreads having to visit her dentist again.
Mrs. Musa said, “My first tooth was extracted three years ago because I was in so much pain. The pain was serious and I had to go to Orile Agege General Hospital. The dentist that attended to me asked me to first go for X-Ray to know the extent of the problem.
“When the result came out, he told me the tooth was badly damaged and that it had to be removed. I was told the teeth had a hole and could not be repaired. I agreed and it was removed.
“About a year after that, I had another tooth extracted when the pain returned. This time, I was told that the tooth was not sitting well and that it was disturbing another tooth. I was told it was already damaging the tooth it was sitting on. I agreed and it was removed and thankfully, the pain has stopped.
“I was, however, told that I might have another tooth removed if the problem I had reoccurs. I hope this doesn’t happen. I am just not ready to have another tooth removed.”
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, Dr. Obagbemiro said Nigerians need to embrace the culture of regular visit to their dentist to avert serious teeth infections that could lead to extraction.
“What we say to people is that they should cultivate the habit of regular visit to the dentist. It is very important. You need to visit your dentist at least twice a year.
“No dentist wants to remove your teeth except it is the best option to help you. We usually try to avoid extraction and only go for it when there is no other option.
“The impression that when a patient visits a dentist with a tooth problem, it usually ends in extraction is wrong. It is usually the last option and no dentist likes to do extraction.
“It is only when the teeth are badly damaged beyond repair or in some cases, when the patient cannot afford the cost of other treatment options, that we do tooth extraction.
“The extraction options may be dental filling or root canal treatment or root debridement, amongst others.
“But, I must add that even these options are only good when the patient presents on time.
“If the patient presents late and has tooth decay with the gum infected, even if the person has money, extraction may be the only option in that situation. Any other option would be an exercise in futility,” Obagbemiro said.
The physician also stressed the need for Nigerians to take oral care seriously .
“The mouth is used for everything. It is used to eat, to take drugs for most health issues and to talk. It is the major pathway to the body, so we must take care of it,” he counselled.
Also speaking with our correspondent, Dr. Clement, who is also a national liaison officer of the Nigerian Dental Association, said globally, two major diseases lead to tooth extractions.
“The two conditions are cavities and periodontal diseases If these two conditions are not quickly and properly taken care of, they could lead to tooth removal.
“That is why we always urge people to go for dental care visit at least twice a year. If they do that, infections could be detected on time and treated and by so doing, the patient can avoid tooth extraction,” he said.
Clement also called for better enlightenment on dental care in Nigeria, noting that awareness of oral healthcare is very shallow in the country.
“The mouth is the gateway to the body and people must realise that dental health is not a one-entity of only caring for the teeth.
“If you go for routine dental care, you can also discover other disease and treat them before they become a serious issue.
“For instance, you can discover diabetes mellitus through routine dental care. So, regular dental care will not only help patients prevent tooth extraction but also many other health conditions,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation, oral diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death.
It is estimated that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people globally.
These diseases, WHO stated, also share common risk factors with other major non-communicable diseases.
Untreated dental caries (tooth decay) in permanent teeth is the most common health condition, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2017, WHO said.
“Treatment for oral health conditions is expensive and usually not part of universal health coverage.
“In most high-income countries, dental treatment averages five percent of total health expenditure and 20 percent of out-of-pocket health expenditure.
Most low- and middle-income countries are unable to provide services to prevent and treat oral health conditions.
“Factors contributing to oral diseases are an unhealthy diet high in sugar, use of tobacco and harmful use of alcohol.
“Most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages,” WHO said.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
The post Why we sometimes resort to removal of patients’ teeth –Dentists appeared first on Healthwise.