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, 135 (6), 739-46; quiz 795-6

Abutment Tooth Loss in Patients With Overdentures


Abutment Tooth Loss in Patients With Overdentures

Ronald L Ettinger et al. J Am Dent Assoc.


Background: Since the 1960s, the use of natural teeth as overdenture abutments has become part of accepted clinical practice. Several longitudinal studies have been conducted, but tooth loss has not been reported to be a significant problem. The aim of this study was to identify the incidence and causes of tooth loss in a prospective cohort study of subjects wearing overdentures.

Methods: The study, conducted between 1973 and 1994, evaluated 273 subjects (62.3 percent male) with a mean age of 59.6 years.

Results: Of the 273 subjects with 666 abutments, 74 lost 133 abutments. The most common cause of tooth loss was periodontal disease (29.3 percent) followed by periapical lesions (18.8 percent) and caries (16.5 percent). Through logistic regression, the authors found that subjects who lost teeth were more likely to have medical problems that could cause soft-tissue lesions of the oral mucosa, were less likely to use fluoride daily and were less likely to return for yearly recall visits. The authors found 22 vertical fractures in 17 subjects. Chi2 analysis revealed that overdenture teeth in the maxillary arch that were opposed by natural teeth were more likely to experience vertical fractures.

Conclusions: In a study that followed up some patients for as long as 22 years, the rate of tooth loss was 20.0 percent. Many of these failures could have been prevented if patients had practiced better oral hygiene.

Clinical implications: The findings suggest that if a dentist recommends overdenture therapy, the patient needs to be examined regularly to reduce the risk of experiencing caries and periodontal disease. Also, if the abutments are in the maxilla and are opposed by natural teeth, the dentist should consider using thimble crowns to reduce the risk of vertical fractures.

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