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Majority of Australians With Missing Teeth Don't Need Dentures, Study Suggests

Update Date: Dec 01, 2014 09:39 AM EST
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People with tooth loss do not have their quality of life interfered with provided they still have a certain number and type of teeth left, a new study has found. 

The study challenges current thinking on whether many people with tooth loos really need dentures. 

In dentistry terms, these patients are considered to have "shortened dental arches", enabling them to maintain functional use of many teeth. The researchers say there is a cutting off point at which tooth loss interferes with quality of life, but patients only need dentures when they reach that cutting off point, according to the press release.

The study considered data of more than 2700 people. According to researchers, as many as 434,000 Australians who currently would be considered for dentures at some stage in their lives may not really need them. 

"For years it has been taken for granted that if people experience tooth loss, they will need dentures, bridges, implants or other corrective processes to replace the missing teeth," says lead author Dr Haiping Tan.

"What we've found is that it really depends on the position of the teeth that have been lost, as well as the number. Most people have 28 adult teeth, plus the four wisdom teeth, but it is possible to have significantly less teeth as long as people have them in the right positions and in the right numbers.

"It's about getting the right balance of biting and cutting teeth at the front of the mouth with enough of the chewing teeth at the back - that can make a real difference to people's dental function," she added in the press release.

The study was published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

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