Causes and pattern of tooth loss in children and adolescents in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital.
Background: Tooth loss diminishes the quality of life and is also related to poorer general health. Premature tooth loss in children can have devastating effects such as compromised aesthetics and function, mesial and distal drifts of adjacent teeth leading to crowding and impaction of the permanent successors and other forms of malocclusion.
Objective: To assess the causes and pattern of tooth loss in children and adolescents at the Paedodontic Clinic of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos.
Methods: This retrospective study was carried out at the Paedodontic Unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos using clinical records over a period of time from January 2008 to April 2010. Information obtained included age, gender, missing and extracted teeth, and reasons for extraction/tooth loss. Exfoliated primary teeth and congenitally missing teeth were excluded. Data was analysed using Epi info 2007 statistical software. Chi-square test was used to compare proportions of tooth loss among age groups. The level of significance was set at P<0.05
Results: A total of 493 patients aged 1-16 years had lost one or more teeth due to various reasons. There were 244(49.5%) males and 249 (50.5%) females. Majority of the subjects lost their teeth due to caries and its sequelae (64.3%) compared to trauma (10.8%) and orthodontic reasons (23.5%). Seven (1.4%) lost their teeth due to failure of previous treatment such as pulp therapy.
Conclusion: Extraction largely due to caries and its sequelae was responsible for most of the tooth loss among the study population. There is the need for intensified oral health education and awareness programmes in the populace with emphasis on prevention of dental caries and early presentation for dental treatment in order to avert premature tooth loss in children and adolescents.
Keywords: Causes, Pattern, Tooth loss, Children.