OBJECTIVES--The dental health of 73 workers previously exposed to mercury vapour at a chloralkali plant was studied and compared with that of 51 non-exposed referents. METHODS--A record of oral, periodontal, gingival and mucosal conditions, including teeth, restorations, prostheses, and oral hygiene, was established during a 30 min examination. The participants' periodontal conditions were assessed according to the community periodontal index of treatment needs (CPITN). The results with the CPITN index were also compared with previously published data for another similar population. RESULTS--There was no significant difference between the exposed workers and the referents with respect to the number of remaining teeth, amount of amalgam restorations, crowns, bridges, or endodontically treated teeth. The oral hygiene among the exposed workers was significantly better than among the referents, but the periodontal health conditions did not significantly differ between the two groups, nor from those of another Norwegian population. DISCUSSION--The present results seem to contradict previous reports claiming tooth loss as a possible result of exposure to mercury vapour.
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