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Volume 16 , Issue 4
July/August 2003

Pages 375–380


A Study on Occlusal Stability in Shortened Dental Arches

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


PMID: 12956491

Purpose: The aim of this study was to verify the hypothesis that shortened dental arches constitute a risk to occlusal stability. Materials and Methods: Using cluster samples, 725 subjects with shortened dental arches comprising intact anterior regions and zero to eight occluding pairs of posterior teeth and 125 subjects with complete dental arches were selected. Subjects with shortened dental arches were classified into eight categories according to arch length and symmetry. Parameters for occlusal stability were interdental spacing, occlusal tooth wear, occlusal contact of incisors in intercuspal position, and vertical and horizontal overlap. Additionally, tooth mobility and overeruption of unopposed teeth were assessed. Influence of independent variables (dental arch category, age, gender, and residence) on the parameters for occlusal stability was assessed by oneway ANOVA and Tukey’s multiple range tests. Results: Extreme shortened dental arches (zero to two pairs of occluding premolars) had significantly more interdental spacing, occlusal contact of incisors, and vertical overlap compared to complete dental arches. Occlusal wear and prevalence of mobile teeth were highest in these categories. The category with three to four occluding premolars had significantly more interdental spacing and, for the older age group, more anterior teeth in occlusal contact compared to complete dental arches. Age was consistently associated with increased changes in occlusal integrity. Conclusion: Signs of increased risk to occlusal stability seemed to occur in extreme shortened dental arches, whereas no such evidence was found for intermediate categories of shortened dental arches. Int J Prosthodont 2003;16:375–380.


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