Tooth wear is the non-carious loss of tooth tissue, which results from three processes namely attrition, erosion and abrasion. These can occur in isolation or simultaneously. Very mild tooth wear is a physiological effect of aging. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of tooth wear among 16-year old Malay school children and determine a feasible sample size for further study. Fifty-five subjects were examined clinically, followed by the completion of self-administered questionnaires. Questionnaires consisted of socio-demographic and associated variables for tooth wear obtained from the literature. The Smith and Knight tooth wear index was used to chart tooth wear. Other oral findings were recorded using the WHO criteria. A software programme was used to determine pathological tooth wear. About equal ratio of male to female were involved. It was found that 18.2% of subjects have no tooth wear, 63.6% had very mild tooth wear, 10.9% mild tooth wear, 5.5% moderate tooth wear and 1.8 % severe tooth wear. In conclusion 18.2% of subjects were deemed to have pathological tooth wear (mild, moderate & severe). Exploration with all associated variables gave a sample size ranging from 560 – 1715. The final sample size for further study greatly depends on available time and resources.
Keywords: pilot study, tooth wear, prevalence and sample size determination