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Community Dent Health. 1996 Dec;13(4):189-92.

Dental caries, fluorosis and the cosmetic implications of different TF scores in 14-year-old adolescents.

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Dental Health Unit, University of Manchester, UK.


The aims of this study were to determine the opinions of a group of adolescents about the cosmetic acceptability of a range of fluorosis, investigate the prevalence and severity of fluorosis in the sample and consider the extent to which fluorosis levels were related to their dental caries experience. A random sample of 534 14-year-old pupils from the non-fluoridated industrial city of Manchester were examined for caries and fluorosis. Each subject then examined six photographs of upper anterior teeth showing a range of TF scores 0-4 and were asked to rate the appearance of each as either very poor, poor, acceptable, good or very good and to indicate whether they would request treatment if their teeth were so affected. Four hundred and seventy-six subjects (89 per cent) had TF scores of 0. Of the 58 subjects (11 per cent) with fluorosis, 27 (5 per cent) scored TF = 1; 22 (4 per cent) TF = 2; 7 (1 per cent) TF = 3 and one subject scored TF = 4. The subjects who had no fluorosis had a mean DMFT of 3.0 which was significantly higher than the mean of 2.2 among those with any fluorosis. The proportion of subjects who rated the photographs as poor or very poor fell from 29 per cent for TF score 0 to 15 per cent for TF score 2 and then increased to 92 per cent for TF score 3. The responses of the subjects regarding their desire for treatment matched closely with their opinions on appearance; the majority of subjects expressed concern over the appearance of teeth with TF scores of 3 and higher. It is concluded that the prevalence of aesthetically objectionable dental fluorosis was low and that mild fluorosis was associated with a lower risk of dental caries and a more acceptable appearance. It is essential that a balanced view of the relative benefits and risks of the use of fluorides is maintained and proven benefits are not overwhelmed by largely unfounded aesthetic concerns.

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