Prevalence of root canal treatment and periapical radiolucency in elders: a systematic review

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Introduction:Neither the prevalence of periapical radiolucency (PARL), a surrogate for disease, nor the prevalence of non-surgical root canal treatment (NSRCT) in elders have been subjected to systematic review. The purpose of this study was to conduct systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of PARL and NSRCT in elders.Methods:Inclusion/exclusion criteria were used for defined searches in MEDLINE and Cochrane CENTRAL. Title lists were scanned and abstracts read to determine utility; articles meeting the criteria were analyzed. Weighted mean percentages were calculated for prevalence of PARL, NSRCT, and PARL in both teeth with and without NSRCT.Results:Defined searching produced 3576 titles; 29 prevalence articles were included. Patient samples mostly represented modern populations from countries with very high human development indices. Meta-analyses were performed on up to 74 000 elders' teeth. For those aged 65+, the prevalence of all teeth with NSRCT was extremely high, 21%; the prevalence of all teeth with PARL was quite high, 7%; the prevalence of PARL in NSRCT teeth was high, 25%; and the prevalence of PARL in untreated teeth was surprisingly high, 4%. In elders, the prevalence of NSRCT and PARL separately increased with age; whereas, PARL in NSRCT teeth decreased with age.Conclusions:In comparison to general adult populations, elders had: a much higher prevalence of NSRCT, a higher prevalence of PARL, a lower prevalence of PARL in NSRCT teeth, and a higher prevalence of PARL in untreated teeth. Teeth saved through NSRCT were preferentially retained by elders.

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