Oral health care practice patterns for geriatric patients: An American Dental Association Clinical Evaluators Panel Survey

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Abstract

Background: The geriatric adult population is expanding rapidly in the United States, with more of these patients expected to visit the dentist in the coming years. Understanding the dental community's preparedness and comfort treating this demographic is timely. Methods: Survey questions were developed to assess how dentists treat geriatric patients, what challenges they face, and what tools they need to provide the best care. This set of questions was administered electronically and emailed to the American Dental Association Clinical Evaluators (ACE) Panel on March 29, 2022. After 2 weeks, the survey closed, and data were summarized descriptively. Results: Of the 269 respondents, 59% indicated that treating geriatric patients is more challenging than treating nongeriatric patients. The most frequently cited challenges include comorbidities and their management (86%), cognitive impairment (68%), and home care needs for some of these patients (69%). The top 3 symptoms seen in these patients are dry mouth (89%), carious lesions (86%), and tooth wear (75%). Seventy-six percent of respondents reported being comfortable treating this demographic, and most (58%) indicated that training as a student contributed to this competency. Conclusions: Most respondents are comfortable treating geriatric patients, but they still face many challenges, with managing comorbidities with dental treatment a top concern. Practical Implications: A sound understanding of the impact of aging and associated medical treatments on oral tissues and patient management is essential. Equally important is finding innovative ways to improve access to care for this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-908.e2
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Volume153
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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