December 2011

Volume 28, Issue 4

Is the shortened dental arch an underused treatment strategy in the Republic of Ireland?

Authors: H. Guiney G. McKenna H. Whelton D. O’Mullane
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2579Guiney04

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the proportion of Republic of Ireland 35-44 and 65+ year-olds currently satisfying the criteria for a classic shortened dental arch (SDA) of 20 anterior teeth. Research Design: Secondary analysis of data collected in the 2000/02 epidemiological survey of the oral health of Irish adults. Clinical setting: Participants underwent a clinical oral examination in health board dental clinics and completed a detailed interview pertaining to dental and general health. Participants: The analysis is based on a random sample of adults, aged 35 to 44 years (n=978), and 65 years and older (n=714). Main outcome measures: The SDA was measured as 20 teeth in the mouth in the positions normally described as from the left second premolar to the right second premolar in each arch. Results: Only one of the 35-44 year-olds and none of the 65+ year-olds had teeth in their mouths in positions normally described as a classic SDA. However, of the 35-44 year old age group only five patients who had at least a premolar dentition of 20 contiguous teeth had been provided with a removable denture compared to one patient from the 65+ years group. Conclusions: Very few older patients in the Republic of Ireland have a SDA based on the measure used. However, very few have been provided with removable dentures where they already possess at least a premolar dentition of 20 contiguous teeth. Suggested reasons for this may include limitations of the data recorded, patient preferences and economic factors. Keywords: shortened dental arch, dentures, edentulous, older adults, partially dentate

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