The Oral Health Status of Individuals on Renal Dialysis

Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Deborah Bauman

Committee Member

L. Truett Lineberger

Committee Member

Ralph Powers

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 N38


The purpose of this investigation was to perform oral assessments on individuals undergoing renal dialysis in Hampton Roads health care facilities to determine their oral health status. A purposive sample was identified via the Sentara Health System in Hampton Roads, from which individuals on renal dialysis who agreed to participate in the study were selected.

Three subgroups of the population were studied: those who have been on renal dialysis for less than a year, individuals on renal dialysis for one to three years and those on renal dialysis for longer than three years.

The Periodontal Disease Index by Ramfjord (1967) was used to measure the periodontal disease status of the population; while the Decayed, Missing, Filled Index by Klein, Palmer and Knutson (1938) was used to evaluate past and present dental caries activity. The Simplified Oral Hygiene Index by Greene and Vermillion (1964) was used to identify the oral hygiene status.

To decrease instrumentation threats to internal validity, a pilot study was performed and intrarater reliability established using the t-test for correlated samples. Data were compiled and analyzed using the parametric test, one-way analysis of variance. All analyses were made at the .05 level of significance.

Results revealed no significant difference in the oral health status of those who have been on renal dialysis for less than a year, individuals on renal dialysis for one to three years and those on renal dialysis for longer than three years.

Findings suggest that 100 percent of the sample in Hampton Roads health facilities had some form of periodontal disease(=3.15, S.D.=1.41). The majority of the population (64 percent) displayed severe gingivitis (28 percent) or early periodontitis (36 percent). The dental caries activity for the sample population indicated that sixty-four percent of the sample had existing caries activity (=11.77, S.D.=7.55), implying restorative procedures may be necessary for many individuals on renal dialysis. Ninety-eight percent of the sample had calculus, while 100 percent had oral debris resulting in a high Simplified Oral Hygiene Index score (=3.24, S.D.=1.26), suggesting an increased need for oral care instruction.

Findings lead to the conclusion that the renal dialysis population in Hampton Roads, regardless of length of time on dialysis, is in need of comprehensive oral care. Oral disease is present within this population and is a source of active infection in these medically compromised individuals. The presence of active oral disease would limit an individuals opportunity to receive a kidney transplant.


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