Using partial recording to assess tooth wear in older adults

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2000 Feb;28(1):18-25. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0528.2000.280103.x.


Objectives: To establish whether partial recording can be used for the measurement and reporting of tooth wear data in samples of adult populations, whilst maintaining the usefulness of the index.

Methods: Using whole mouth coronal tooth wear data from a large random population sample of 1200 dentate older adults in England, several different partial recording systems were investigated to establish which teeth would maintain a high level of sensitivity for the most economic use of codes and index teeth. Tooth wear data were recorded on a surface-by-surface basis on all teeth in the sample using the tooth wear index.

Results: Five different partial mouth recording systems were assessed, including half-mouth scoring, assessment of just upper or just lower anterior teeth, assessment of all anterior teeth and use of six index teeth. The 12 anterior teeth were the ones most often affected by moderate or severe wear, and when all 12 teeth were used as the index teeth few wear cases were missed, and all the most extensive and severe cases of coronal wear were classified as having some wear. A limited index of only six anterior teeth (three uppers and three lowers) was almost as sensitive, but allowed less flexibility when reporting the extent of coronal wear. Other systems for partial recording were less sensitive.

Conclusions: Partial recording using six or 12 anterior teeth is appropriate for measuring and reporting tooth wear data in large population surveys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • England / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tooth Attrition / classification
  • Tooth Attrition / diagnosis*
  • Tooth Attrition / epidemiology