World Health Organization defines palliative care as the active total care of patients whose disease is not responding to curative treatment. Palliative care for the terminally ill is based on a multidimensional approach to provide whole-person comfort care while maintaining optimal function; dental care plays an important role in this multidisciplinary approach. The aim of the present study is to review significance of dentist's role to determine whether mouth care was effectively assessed and implemented in the palliative care setting. The oral problems experienced by the hospice head and neck patient clearly affect the quality of his or her remaining life. Dentist plays an essential role in palliative care by the maintenance of oral hygiene; dental examination may identify and cure opportunistic infections and dental disease like caries, periodontal disease, oral mucosal problems or prosthetic requirement. Oral care may reduce not only the microbial load of the mouth but the risk for pain and oral infection as well. This multidisciplinary approach to palliative care, including a dentist, may reduce the oral debilities that influence the patient's ability to speak, eat or swallow. This review highlighted that without effective assessment of the mouth, the appropriate implementation of care will not be delivered. Palliative dental care has been fundamental in management of patients with active, progressive, far-advanced disease in which the oral cavity has been compromised either by the disease directly or by its treatment; the focus of care is quality of life.
Keywords: Dental expression; Hospice care; Oral lesions; Pain; Palliative care.