Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the factors associated with continued significant tooth loss due to periodontal reasons during maintenance following periodontal therapy in a specialist periodontal practice in Norway.
Material and Methods: A case–control design was used. Refractory cases were patients who lost multiple teeth during a maintenance period of 13.4 (range 8–19) years following definitive periodontal treatment in a specialist practice. Controls were age- and gender-matched maintenance patients from the same practice. Characteristics and treatment outcomes were assessed, and all teeth classified as being lost due to periodontal disease during follow-up were identified. The use of implants in refractory cases and any complications relating to such a treatment were recorded.
Results: Only 27 (2.2%) patients who received periodontal treatment between 1986 and 1998 in a specialist practice met the criteria for inclusion in the refractory to treatment group. Each refractory subject lost 10.4 (range 4–16) teeth, which represented 50% of the teeth present at baseline. The rate of tooth loss in the refractory group was 0.78 teeth per year, which was 35 times greater than that in the control group. Multivariate analysis indicated that being in the refractory group was predicted by heavy smoking (p=0.026), being stressed (p=0.016) or having a family history of periodontitis (p=0.002). Implants were placed in 14 of the refractory patients and nine (64%) of these lost at least one implant. In total, 17 (25%) of the implants placed in the refractory group were lost during the study period.
Conclusions: A small number of periodontal maintenance patients are refractive to treatment and go on to experience significant tooth loss. These subjects also have a high level of implant complications and failure. Heavy smoking, stress and a family history of periodontal disease were identified as factors associated with a refractory outcome.