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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 19  |  Page : 47-54

Edentulousness and unmet prosthetic need in a rural population: A cross-sectional study

1 Reader, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Yenepoya Dental College, Deralakatte, Mangalore - 575 018, India
2 Professor, Department of Oral Medicine & Radiology, Yenepoya Dental College, Deralakatte, Mangalore - 575 018, India
3 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore - 575 003, India

Correspondence Address:
Rekha P Shenoy
102, Mithila Apartments, Karangalpady Mangalore - 575 003
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Introduction: Tooth loss results in significant disabilities which disrupt social activities. Several factors such as attitude, dental attendance and fiscal concerns influence the decision to obtain treatment for the replacement of lost teeth. For the oral care system to provide the requisite services, data on factors influencing tooth loss and utilization of care facilities are a prime requirement. Therefore, this investigation aimed to determine reasons for tooth loss and unmet prosthetic need among residents of rural areas. Materials and Methods: Data was obtained, using a two part pre-tested proforma, from 249 subjects aged 16 years and above seeking care at three rural dental care centers with at least one missing tooth and no existing prosthetic replacements during a five-month period. Differences in proportions were compared using the Chi squared test. A p-value of < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results: The etiological factors responsible for tooth loss were dental caries (69.5%), periodontal disease (20.1%) and trauma (1.2%). Reasons stated by subjects for not availing dental care for tooth replacement were lack of time (37.8%), financial resources (26.5%), and dental care facilities (24.1%), and distant location of the care facility (11.6%). Conclusion: Results confirmed dental caries as the major etiologic factor in tooth loss, notwithstanding decades of emphasis on preventive care. Also evident was a lack of time, financial resources and motivation towards seeking professional care for edentulousness, as well as lack of dental care facilities and distant location of the care facility.

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