A study of attachment loss patterns in survivor teeth at 18 months, 36 months and 5 years in community-dwelling older adults

James D. Beck, Tonya Sharp, Gary G. Koch, Steven Offenbacher

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29 Scopus citations


Most of our knowledge regarding the natural history of periodontitis in adults has come from clinical studies of dental patients. However, it is known that dental patients usually are not representative of what actually happens in the population. This paper presents population-based attachment loss trends in survivor teeth to address the following issues; 1) whether attachment loss during 1 period in time is associated with higher risk for attachment loss at a subsequent period in the same subject; 2) whether sites in survivor teeth with deeper periodontal pockets at baseline are more likely to experience future attachment loss; and 3) whether the effect of regular use of dentists' services on attachment loss are demonstrated in a community-dwelling population. In 1988, the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry initiated the Piedmont 65+ Dental Study, which was designed to elicit 800 dentate respondents in the 5-county area who were examined again at 18, 36 and 60 months. Our findings indicated that, for the 3 time periods investigated, attachment loss during the first period was not related to the incidence of attachment loss at a subsequent period for most people. However, for people who experience multiple episodes, the second episode was likely to immediately follow the first episode. This pattern did not occur at the site level where no site experienced more than 2 successive episodes, and a previous episode did not put a site at higher risk for a subsequent episode. Our data also indicated that both baseline pocket depth and irregular dental visits were positively associated with the proportion of sites that demonstrated break-down over the next 5 yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-505
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Periodontics


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