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J Oral Rehabil. 2006 Nov;33(11):850-62.

A review of the shortened dental arch concept focusing on the work by the Käyser/Nijmegen group.

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Department of Fixed Prosthodontics, Graduate School of Dentistry, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.


The aims of this paper were to review the literature on shortened dental arches with special focus on publications of the Käyser/Nijmegen group, and to evaluate the discussions on the shortened dental arch concept found in the literature. A MEDLINE (PubMed) search was conducted for articles in English published in the dental literature from 1966 to November 2005. The search revealed epidemiological, cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical studies as well as opinion papers, the majority of which were published by the Dutch group. The studies found in general no clinically significant differences between subjects with shortened dental arches of three to five occlusal units and complete dental arches regarding variables such as masticatory ability, signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders, migration of remaining teeth, periodontal support, and oral comfort. The findings from cross-sectional studies were corroborated longitudinally. No systematic clinical study with conflicting results was found. The shortened dental arch concept was accepted by a great majority of dentists but not widely practised. The studies reviewed showed that shortened dental arches comprising anterior and premolar teeth in general fulfil the requirements of a functional dentition. It may therefore be concluded that the concept deserves serious consideration in treatment planning for partially edentulous patients. However, with ongoing changes, e.g. in dental health and economy, the concept requires continuing research, evaluation and discussion. Patients' needs and demands vary much and should be individually assessed but the shortened dental arch concept deserves to be included in all treatment planning for partially edentulous patients.

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