Will there be a need for complete dentures in the United States in 2020?

J Prosthet Dent. 2002 Jan;87(1):5-8. doi: 10.1067/mpr.2002.121203.


Currently, there is much speculation among dental educators that the need for complete dentures will decline markedly in the future and that complete denture training should be removed from the dental curriculum. Estimates based on national epidemiologic survey data indicate that edentulism has declined by 10% every decade and that only 90% of edentulous adults obtain and wear complete dentures. However, when the number of adults in each specific age group is multiplied by the percentage who need a complete maxillary or mandibular denture, the results suggest that the adult population in need of 1 or 2 complete dentures will increase from 33.6 million adults in 1991 to 37.9 million adults in 2020. The 10% decline in edentulism experienced each decade for the past 30 years will be more than offset by the 79% increase in the adult population older than 55 years. The clinical implications of these findings are twofold: First, practicing dentists will find that a sizable minority of the patient population will continue to need complete denture services; and second, if training in complete denture prostheses is eliminated from the dental education curriculum, millions of patients will be forced to seek denture services from alternative providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Curriculum
  • Denture, Complete / statistics & numerical data
  • Denture, Complete / trends*
  • Denture, Complete, Lower / trends
  • Denture, Complete, Upper / trends
  • Education, Dental
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth, Edentulous / epidemiology
  • Needs Assessment / trends*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Prosthodontics / education
  • United States / epidemiology