Purpose:This study investigated the emotional effects of tooth loss among
community-dwelling elderly people in Hong Kong and compared the effects among
edentulous and partially dentate elderly. Materials and Methods:A questionnaire
study involved 233 southern Chinese elderly who were recruited and interviewed at
social centers for elderly people throughout Hong Kong. Data were analyzed using
chi-square or chi-square exact tests. Results:Twenty-two percent of the participants
reported difficulty accepting tooth loss, with no difference between the edentulous
and partially dentate. However, 95% stated that their confidence was unaffected. For
more than half of elderly people, tooth loss had a negative effect on food choice and
enjoyment of food, with removable denture wearers having greater restrictions.
Avoiding going out, eating in public, and forming close relationships were lesscommon
problems. Twenty-two percent felt unprepared for the effects of tooth loss,
and more than half said that better communication with the dentist would have helped.
Conclusion:The emotional effects of tooth loss were not marked among elderly
people, and there were no differences between edentulous and partially dentate
individuals. However, significant disability was experienced because of restrictions in
daily living activities. Restrictions were more severe in people who had lost enough
teeth to necessitate denture wearing. Int J Prosthodont 2004;17:172–176.