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Volume 17 , Issue 2
March/April 2004

Pages 172176

Emotional Effects of Tooth Loss in Community-Dwelling Elderly People in Hong Kong

Anne S. McMillan, BDS, PhD/May C. M. Wong, BSocSci, MPhil

PMID: 15119867

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;17:172176.

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