Author(s): Fiske J, Davis DM, Frances C, Gelbier S
Abstract Share this page
Abstract AIM: To explore the range of reactions to, and feelings about, tooth loss. METHOD: In this qualitative study, 50 edentulous people undergoing routine prosthetic dental care were interviewed privately using a reflexive, in-depth technique. All the interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were scrutinised to identify the common themes related to tooth loss. Interpreter bias was minimised by two researchers scrutinising the transcripts independently. RESULTS: The participants had a mean age of 69.9 years (range 51 to 86) and had been edentulous for a mean of 18.4 years (range 0.25 to 57 years). The main themes identified in reaction to tooth loss were: bereavement, lowered self-confidence, altered self-image, dislike of appearance, an inability to discuss this taboo subject, a concern about prosthodontic privacy, behaving in a way that keeps the tooth loss secret, altered behaviour in socialising and forming close relationships, premature ageing, and lack of preparation. CONCLUSION: Tooth loss can be disabling and handicapping. It has a profound impact on the lives of some people, even those who are apparently coping well with dentures. The profession needs to consider how it can prepare people for the effects of tooth loss.
This article was published in Br Dent J
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research