Prosthodontics, care utilization and oral health-related quality of life

Abstract: The main aim of this thesis was to study the impact of oral health and oral prostheses on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQOL) in an adult Swedish population. Additional aims were to study social inequali-ties in oral health, attitudes towards the cost for dental care and dental care utilization. The study base was 1294 responses to a questionnaire from a random sample of 1974 persons aged 50-75 years, all of whom were resident in the County of Skåne, Sweden. There was an association between impaired dental conditions and poor social conditions. Low dental care utilization covaried with impaired dental conditions and with stating a perceived need to obtain dental care but with no possibility to obtain it because of a cost barrier. In factor analysis, three factors captured 22 variables that aimed to measure OHRQOL. The constituent variables were summed into three index variables interpreted as oral health impact on everyday activities, on a psychological dimension and on oral function. The three variables were set as dependent variables in regression models with the independent variables social attributes, individual attributes, dentures, number of teeth and dental care attitudes. The models were run in three steps taking into account the interaction between the type of denture and the number of remaining teeth. The number of remaining teeth was more important than the type of denture when explaining OHRQOL. The type of replacement, in terms of fixed or removable denture, was less important for those with few or no remaining teeth, than for all others. OHRQOL was also explained by general health in relation to age peers as well as by varying attitudes towards dental care costs. Statistically significant interactions were ob-served between the number of remaining teeth and the type of denture when explaining OHRQOL. As a whole the thesis shows that social and dental conditions and cost for dental care play a great role for dental care utilization as well as for OHRQOL. Prosthodontics has an important role, where type of replacement interacts with tooth loss in its effect on QOL.

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