Impact of caries experience in the deciduous molars on the emergence of the successors

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of caries experience in a primary molar (decayed and/or restored vs. extracted) on the timing of emergence of its successor. Data were obtained from a longitudinal epidemiological study in a sample of 4468 Flemish children. Survival analyses with log-logistic distribution were performed to calculate median emergence ages and 95% confidence intervals (CI); caries experience was added as a covariate. The results indicate that the emergence of the maxillary and mandibular premolars was accelerated by 2–8 months when its predecessor had been decayed and or restored but had not been extracted. Premature loss of maxillary primary molars resulted in a significant acceleration of the emergence of the premolars; this was not observed in the mandible. In conclusion, when considering permanent tooth emergence ages, caries experience in the primary dentition should be taken into account.

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