The aim of this study was to observe the dental condition in a group of elderly patients over a period of 10 years in order to clarify important risk factors.
Materials and methods
Participants were elderly patients (in their eighties) who took panoramic radiographs between 2015 and 2016, and for whom panoramic radiographs taken around 10 year earlier were also available. The number of remaining and lost teeth, the Eichner Index, the presence or absence of molar occlusion, the respective condition of dental pulp, dental crowns, alveolar bone resorption, as well as periapical lesions were investigated through the analysis of panoramic radiographs. Additionally, other important variables were collected from patients' medical records. From the obtained panoramic radiograph sets, the patients’ dental condition was investigated, and a systematic comparison was conducted.
The analysis of the panoramic radiographs showed that the number of remaining teeth decreased from an average of 20.8–15.5, and the percentage of patients with 20 or more teeth decreased from 69.2 to 26.9%. A factor analysis investigating tooth loss risk suggested that tooth loss was associated with the bridge, P2 or greater resorption of the alveolar bone, and apical lesions, and gender (with males having a higher risk compared to females).
Teeth showing P2 or greater alveolar bone resorption, bridge, and apical lesions on panoramic radiographs are most likely to be lost in an elderly patient’s near future. Consequently, this group should be encouraged to visit their dental clinics regularly and receive comprehensive instruction on individual self-care methods.