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Volume 15 , Issue 6
November/December 2002

Pages 539-543

A 5-Year Follow-up of Occlusal Status and Radiographic Findings in Mandibular Condyles of the Elderly

Kaija Hiltunen, DDS, Miira M. Vehkalahti, DDS, PhD, Jaakko S. Peltola, DDS, PhD, Anja Ainamo, DDS, PhD

PMID: 12475158

Purpose: The aim of the present 5-year follow-up was to clarify the nature of occlusal support status and radiographic changes in condyles of the elderly, and the association between these two variables. Materials and Methods: The present study is part of a comprehensive medical survey of a random sample born in 1904, 1909, and 1914. A total of 364 subjects living in Helsinki participated in the dental part of the examination during 1990 to 1991, and after 5 years a total of 103 were reexamined. Comprehensive data on occlusal support status were available for 94 subjects, and radiographic data were available for 88 subjects. Occlusal support status was assessed on the basis of the Eichner index, radiographic changes were assessed from panoramic radiographs, and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders were assessed using Helkimo’s anamnestic index. Results: The most frequent radiographic finding in the mandibular joint was flattening of the articular surface of the condyle associated with osteoarthrosis, found at baseline in 17% and during follow-up in 13% of the subjects. During the 5-year followup, Eichner index for natural dentition remained unaltered in 94% of the subjects and in 85% of the subjects when removable dentures were included. There were no radiographic changes in 92% of the cases. No differences based on age or gender were found. A logistic regression model revealed associations between the selected baseline factors. The odds ratio for baseline Helkimo’s anamnestic index was 4.1, 5.7 for Eichner index with the support of removable dentures, and 356 for radiographic findings. Conclusion: Radiographic changes in condyles of elderly people were small during the 5-year follow-up, but baseline radiographic findings, Helkimo’s anamnestic index, and Eichner index with removable dentures were risk factors for radiographic findings at the end of the follow-up.

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