Objective: To determine the Treatment Needs Index (TNI) for dental caries, the restorative Care Index (CI), and to introduce a Tooth Extractions Index (TEI) to estimate past and current treatment needs among Mexican adolescents.
Subject and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out on 1538 adolescents aged 12 and 15 years in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, to collect decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT) data to describe TNI, CI and TEI indices.
Results: Higher TNI was identified in younger male teenagers who had always lived in the same community, without dental visits in the last year, and who had poorer socio-economic markers. Higher CI was found in older, female subjects who had moved in their lifetimes to a new community in the area, with dental visits in the last year and who had better socio-economic markers. Higher TEI was found in older, female teenagers who had moved in their lifetimes to a new community in the area, without dental visits in the last year, and who had worse socio-economic markers.
Conclusions: We observed high rates of treatment needs for dental caries and little experience of restorative treatment. While dental extractions due to advanced caries should ideally be zero, relatively few adolescents had this treatment experience. Despite the fact that the overall background of these adolescents is rather homogeneous, it was still possible to find that treatment needs’ indices (past and present needs) appeared to be modified by sociodemographic and socio-economic variables.