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, 39 (3), 412-427

Complete Tooth Loss as Status Passage

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Complete Tooth Loss as Status Passage

Barry John Gibson et al. Sociol Health Illn.

Abstract

The aim of this article is to add to the literature on the sociology of oral health and dentistry by presenting the relevance of status passage to the study of complete tooth loss. The article reports on an analysis of data taken from participants residing in the Nelson region of New Zealand. In total the data include interviews from 20 participants, all of whom had their remaining natural teeth removed before 1960. In total, 12 women and eight men were interviewed. All were from a European background with an age range of 71 to 101 years. Following a narrative approach, participants were interviewed on the nature of the social factors that resulted in complete tooth loss by starting with their family history and then focusing on the factors and events leading up to their total tooth loss. Data were analysed using the methods and techniques of grounded theory. This article provides an outline of the importance of scheduling, prescribing, social factors, 'compound awareness contexts' and reversibility to the status passage into complete tooth loss. We conclude by arguing that the theory of status passage may enable a detailed analysis of the 'time-space extensionality' of trajectories into complete tooth loss.

Keywords: complete tooth loss; dentistry; grounded theory; reification; status passage.

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