The aim of this study was to identify the factors related to prosthetic restoration in patients with shortened dental arches (SDA). SDA patients with 2-12 missing occlusal units were consecutively enrolled from seven university-based dental hospitals in Japan. Of the 145 subjects (mean age; 63·4years), 41% chose no treatment and 59% sought to replace their edentulous spaces with removable partial dentures or implant-supported fixed partial dentures. Restoration decisions were related to tooth loss patterns. Only 3% of subjects missing just second molar(s) sought to receive prosthetic treatment, while the percentage increased to 58% in subjects who were missing first and second molars and 93% in subjects missing premolar(s). Logistic regression analyses found that young age, increased number of missing occlusal units, asymmetric arch and presence of chewing complaint were significant predictors for prosthetic restoration (P<0·05). Increased number of missing occlusal units and asymmetric arch were significant predictors for the presence of chewing complaint (P<0·05). These results suggest that perceived impairment of chewing ability owing to missing occlusal units is a critical factor for prosthetic restoration in SDA patients.
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