SUMMARY The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between patterns of missing occlusal units (OUs) and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in subjects with the shortened dental arches (SDAs). Subjects with SDAs were recruited consecutively for 1 month from six universitybased prosthodontic clinics. In total, 115 SDA subjects participated (mean age, 58.5 ± 10.0 years;71% female). The location and number of missing teeth were examined and the number of missing OUs was calculated. To evaluate OHRQoL, the Japanese version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-J) was administered and the summary score of OHIP-J was calculated. The SDA subjects were categorized depending upon the anterior-posterior lengths of the missing or remaining OUs. Regression analyses were performed to investigate the OHIP-J differences between groups of subjects with various anterior-posterior SDA lengths. The analyses revealed that subjects who only lost the second molar contact exhibited significantly better OHRQoL than those who lost more teeth [coefficient: 11.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.8-19.2, P = 0.02]. Furthermore a statistically significant group difference was observed between the groups with and without the first molar occlusal contact (coefficient: 12.8, 95% CI: 1.4 to 24.1, P = 0.03). In conclusion, although our results are of exploratory nature and need validation, patterns of missing OUs are likely to be related to the OHRQoL impairment in SDA subjects with the presence of first molar contact having a particularly important role.
- Oral health-related quality of life
- Removable dentures
- Shortened dental arch
- occlusal units