Skip to main content
Causes of tooth loss in a veteran population
Journal of Public Health Dentistry
  • Linda C. Niessen, Nova Southeastern University
  • R. J. Weyant
Publication Date / Copyright Date
DOI Number
Tooth loss in adults over age 35 usually is attributed to periodontal diseases. However, certain adult populations are known to have high caries rates. It is not clear to what extent caries contributes to tooth loss in adults. This pilot study examined the causes of tooth loss in a veteran population residing in an 800-bed, primarily long-term care facility. The study retrospectively reviewed 572 patients' dental records and documented causes for dental extractions. Of the sample population, 168 teeth were extracted in 51 patients who had 860 teeth present before treatment. Mean age of the patients undergoing extractions was 57.7 years, lower than the sample population of 60.1 years. Of the 168 teeth extracted, 105 (63%) were attributed to caries and 33 (20%) were documented as root tips, suggesting the presence of root caries. Fifty-five (33%) were extracted due to periodontal disease and six (4%) were extracted for prosthodontic reasons. Of the maxillary teeth, 67 percent were extracted for caries and 25 percent of periodontal reasons. Caries accounted for 57 percent and periodontal disease accounted for 42 percent of the mandibular teeth extracted. The order in which teeth were most frequently extracted was maxillary anteriors, mandibular anteriors, maxillary and mandibular premolars, and maxillary and mandibular molars. This study supports the recent work of authors who have found caries contributing significantly to tooth loss in adult populations.
Citation Information
Linda C. Niessen and R. J. Weyant. "Causes of tooth loss in a veteran population" Journal of Public Health Dentistry Vol. 49 Iss. 1 (1989) p. 19 - 23
Available at: