Tooth loss is universal, and is a smile and/or a function compromise always. In the way past, it was a common and anticipated life occurrence. Generally it was due to the lack of proper hygiene knowledge and day-to-day priority. That is, getting food to eat, to provide for multiple hungry mouths was priority enough in a very harsh, struggling world.
Ancient records indicate the first attempts at restorative dentistry by the Etruscans after tooth loss. In many cases, they secured the lost tooth to the surrounding teeth with twists of gold braid, mostly for esthetics I assume. The “physics” of this dental attempt would not go far in chewing function, certainly. It seems that the biggest plus to dental restorative longevity of that day was the (comparably) short life longevities of most of these ancient populations.
Almost common knowledge today, even to lay folks, was the well-known dental journey of our first American President, George Washington. I have always assumed that there was a fair amount of whiskey at hand, for both patient and dentist, when most of his diseased teeth were removed. And, the fit and finish of his (Smithsonian displayed) wooden sculpted teeth was probably “better than nothing”, considering the lack of dental and laboratory expertise of that day.
Fixed bridges (appliances), permanently cemented to the other teeth, adjacent to the lost tooth or teeth, are great restorative options in multiple dental situations.
Today, so many tooth loss issues are solved with dental implants. Implants were making their debut in the 1980’s. These tooth loss solutions have steadily risen in concept and use each year since their introduction, and are considered to be state of the art presently.
More on this subject later, with comparative pros and con considerations of these main restorative players above.