Geriatrics – Our Future Patients Alternatives in Dental Practice

Aug 8, 2014

The focus of this workshop is on the oral health of elderly adults who will shortly comprise the majority of dental patients treated in the United States. This cohort expects to maintain their teeth for a lifetime and is more likely to demand long-term dental care. Demographers predict that greater numbers of elderly will be institutionalized in the future, and their oral health will need to be addressed by private dental practitioners in non-traditional ways. The course will explore these demographics and review clinical challenges, including risk assessment for oral disease, patient management, common oral problems, non-dental changes related to aging that affect oral health, and common physical, mental and medical conditions and  pharmacotherapy considerations. Additionally, elder abuse and neglect are on the increase, and dental professionals are obligated to recognize and report suspected cases. This course also will help dental professionals better understand the dynamics and signs of elder abuse. The second portion of the course will outline and direct dental practitioners on steps for establishing a dental program for geriatric facilities that will prove both rewarding and profitable.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Review changing demographics in the U.S. and the potential impact on dental practice in future decades
  • Examine changes related to aging that affect oral health; identify strategies for addressing these; and view cases
  • Discuss oral disease risk factors for elderly adults and identify possible interventions
  • Identify physical, mental and medical conditions common to elderly adults as related to dental care, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease
  • Identify possible interactions of medications and their contraindications for dental procedures
  • Recognize signs of elder abuse and mistreatment, and understand the dental team’s professional responsibility for reporting
  • Outline a protocol for expanding your current dental practice into geriatric facilities, including:
  • necessary equipment and supplies
  • adequate manpower
  • legal and state board requirements


June Sadowsky
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