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The prevalence of denture loss within community residential settings


Introduction Denture loss prevalence in community settings is unknown and results in deteriorating residents' systemic and psychosocial wellbeing.

Materials and methods An electronic survey was distributed nationally through professional networks to community residential settings.

Results Of the 156 responses from community residential settings, 69% of settings experienced at least one denture lost in the last two years. Sixty percent of responders reported no dentures were labelled, only 64% had received training about how to care for dentures and 86% felt they would benefit from further training on mouth care. In addition, 68% of staff found arranging dental care for their residents challenging.

Discussion Extrapolated data suggest that at least 10,205 dentures are lost annually in community residential settings and are never found, costing the NHS Business Service Authority more than £3 million. A high prevalence of denture loss in community residential settings is likely due to residents with multiple comorbidities and frailty. Remaking dentures poses financial, logistical, and patient challenges, which may result in patients being unable to wear a remade denture.

Conclusion The prevalence of denture loss within community residential settings needs to be understood to encourage targeted interventions, inform stakeholders, and encourage workflows that will improve service delivery and patients' oral health-related quality of life.

Key points

  • The prevalence of denture loss in community residential settings is significantly underestimated.

  • Vulnerable patients are more susceptible to systemic and psychological deterioration if they experience denture loss and may be more complex to treat within dental practices.

  • Dental practitioners, oral health promoters and dental technicians should be aware of interventions that should be implemented to minimise denture loss in community settings.

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Authors and Affiliations



NA, DJ, JW, MD were involved in the data collection, data analysis and have co-written the article.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Natalie Archer.

Ethics declarations

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval was not required for this survey in line with HRA Ethical Approval tool, with the survey being anonymous and no patient-identifiable information being captured. The survey participants were healthcare staff members. The survey introduction highlighted to participants that data gathered may be published in the future. Consent to participate was implied by completion of the survey.

Data available upon request from the authors.

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Archer, N., S. Jayawardena, D., Wong, J. et al. The prevalence of denture loss within community residential settings. Br Dent J (2024).

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