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Volume 17 , Issue 2
March/April 2004

Pages 224–230

Decayed/Missing/Filled Teeth and Shortened Dental Arches in Tanzanian Adults

Paulo T. N. Sarita, DDS, PhD/Dick J. Witter, DDS, PhD/Cees M. Kreulen, DDS, PhD/Mecky I. Matee, DDS, PhD/Martin A. van’t Hof, MSc, PhD/Nico H. J. Creugers, DDS, PhD

PMID: 15119876

Purpose:This study assessed decayed/missing/filled teeth (DMFT), presence of occlusal units, and prevalence of shortened dental arches in a Tanzanian adult population. Materials and Methods:The dental state of samples of the Tanzanian population was studied. Oral examinations were conducted on 5,532 adults from rural and urban cluster samples. DMFT was related to age, gender, and residence. The pattern of tooth loss within dental arches was mapped, and the prevalence of shortened dental arches was estimated. Results:Mean DMFT scores increased gradually from 1.8 (20- to 29-year-olds) to 3.8 (50- to 59-year-olds). A steep increase was observed in the  60-year-olds (DMFT 8.1). “Missing” was the dominant component of DMFT. The mean number of present teeth ranged from 27 in the youngest to 20 in the oldest age group. Under 60 years of age, DMFT was significantly higher for women than for men. No differences were found between residence categories. Molars were more frequently decayed, missing, and mobile than premolars. Of all subjects, 41% had complete dental arches, 44% had interruptions (of these, 73% were in posterior regions only), and 15% had shortened dental arches; 0.5% were edentulous. Of the subjects with shortened dental arches, about 65% had at minimum three pairs of occluding premolars. Conclusion:An initial low DMFT rate increased after the age of 60 years. Molars had the highest risk of dental decay and were most frequently absent. Shortened dental arches develop as a consequence of the pattern of tooth decay and tooth loss, although interruptions were frequently seen in the posterior regions. Int J Prosthodont 2004;17:224–230.

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