Why do edentulous adults with intellectual disabilities not wear dentures? Wave 2 of the IDS TILDA cohort study
Purpose: Older adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are often edentulous. When total tooth loss occurs, they are very unlikely to wear complete removable dentures (CRDs) to restore oral function in Ireland. The reasons for this are unclear, though opinion holds that this is because dentists do not offer prosthodontic treatment to this group. In this study we ask edentulous older adults with ID why they do not wear dentures. Methods: Cross-sectional survey data from Wave 2 of the Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA) was examined to study reported denture wear among edentulous older adults with ID. Results: Out of 692 participants, 186 were edentulous (26.9%), of whom 57 (30.6%) wore CRDs and 129 (69.3%) did not. Twelve of this 129 had dentures but did not wear them. Of the 117 respondents who reported that they did not have dentures, 99 (valid %=92.5%) did not want dentures, while only 8 did. No respondents in this study reported that they were denied denture therapy. Rather, they simply did not want dentures. Clinicians should understand that extra steps may be needed to ensure that consent is truly informed when patients opt for, or decline, complete denture therapy. Conclusion: While there is a high normative need for prosthodontic rehabilitation, expressed need is low. Extra steps may be necessary to ensure optimal outcomes for people with ID.
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