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J Oral Rehabil. 1998 Sep;25(9):649-61.

The relationship between satisfaction with mouth and number and position of teeth.

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  • 1Department of Dental Public Health, University College London Medical School, UK.


A number of studies have suggested that many people are satisfied with less than 28 natural teeth. This review assesses the evidence. The main conclusion was that less than a complete dentition can satisfy oral functional needs. Missing posterior teeth were not very important from a subjective aspect. The demand for replacement of missing teeth is related to the position of missing teeth. Most studies agree that individuals were more concerned about missing anterior teeth and having anterior rather than posterior teeth replaced. Aesthetics is more important than function for a great majority of individuals. However, certain socio-demographic factors, such as age, can change the subjective need for replacement of missing teeth. Some studies have assessed the social and psychological impacts on oral health status. The position of missing teeth was assessed, in terms of groups of missing teeth, anterior or posterior, that would affect an individuals' subjective need for replacement by partial prosthesis. Large numbers of people that have free end removable partial dentures made do not wear them because subjective needs are lower than normatively determined needs for replacement of missing teeth. Some studies have proposed alternatives to the replacement of missing teeth, such as the shortened dental arch concept.

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