alexa The shortened dental arch concept and its implications for oral health care.



Author(s): Witter DJ, van Palenstein Helderman WH, Creugers NH

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The minimum number of teeth needed to satisfy functional demands has been the subject of several studies. However, since functional demands--and consequently the number of teeth needed--can vary from individual to individual, this minimum number cannot be defined exactly. In general, occlusion of a complete dental arch is preferable. However, this goal might be neither attainable, for general, dental or financial reasons, nor necessary. Many studies demonstrate that shortened dental arches comprising the anterior and premolar regions can meet the requirements of a functional dentition. Consequently, when priorities have to be set, restorative therapy should be aimed at preserving the most strategic parts of the dental arch: the anterior and premolar regions. This also implies that in cases of a shortened dental arch, the prompt replacement of absent posterior molars by free-end removable partial dentures leads to overtreatment and discomfort. The shortened dental arch concept is based on circumstantial evidence: it does not contradict current theories of occlusion and fits well with a problem-solving approach. The concept offers some important advantages and may be considered a strategy to reduce the need for complex restorative treatment in the posterior regions of the mouth.

This article was published in Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. and referenced in Dentistry

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