Missing Teeth, Dentures and Dental Implants
If a patient is missing individual teeth, or all of their teeth, it is to be assumed that they need implants, dentures, or other similar restorative treatments to ensure their continued dental health. A recent study from the University of Adelaide, however, suggests that this may not be the case.
The University’s Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health in the School of Dentistry conducted a study involving 2,700 Australian’s that has been published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology journal. It indicated that those with tooth loss may not require tooth implants or dentures so long as they still have a certain number and certain types of teeth remaining. These people have what is called a “shortened dental arch”, which enables them to maintain the use of many teeth. It is a matter of having the right balance of teeth at the front of the mouth, that are used for biting and cutting foods, and at the back of the mouth, which are used for chewing. Having these particular teeth can make a big difference to a patient’s dental function.
The study suggests that 414,000 Australians who would likely be considered for dentures either now or at some point in the future do not actually require them. There is a certain cutting off point where they would, but until they reach that point, can function properly without a full set of teeth.
Researchers and dentists claim that the study’s conclusions could mean the need for serious reallocations of resources in dental practice, as funds and resources typically used for dentures and similar treatments can now go to the prevention of tooth loss.
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