Interesting research from the University of Adelaide questions whether or not all of those people who have dentures really need them. The research was conducted by the University’s Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health in the School of Dentistry and found that people with tooth loss do not have their quality of life interfered with if they still have a certain type and number of teeth left.
These patients are considered to have shortened dental arches which enables them to maintain functional use of many teeth. The researchers says there is a cut off point at which tooth loss contributes to loss of quality of life where dentures can be used to improve dentures. However, the researchers feel that dentures are only needed once that cutting off point is reached.
The study was based on data of 2,700 Australians. The researchers say it is about getting the right balance of biting and cutting teeth at the front of the mouth while still having enough of the chewing teeth at the back. Even though people naturally have 28 adult teeth, one can have significantly less teeth and still be able to function properly.
The researchers feel the findings have important public health implications such as how resources are allocated. For example, more resources could be allocated towards prevention of tooth loss.
Source: Haiping Tan and et al. Do people with shortened dental arches have worse oral health-related quality of life than those with more natural teeth? A population-based study. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 2014.