Geriatric dentistry--meet the need

Gerodontology. 2012 Jun;29(2):e1-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2010.00423.x.


Geriatric dentistry or gerodontics is the delivery of dental care to older adults involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems associated with normal ageing and age-related diseases as part of an inter-disciplinary team with other health care professionals. Geriatric health is an ignored and under-explored area worldwide. Oral health reflects overall well being for the elderly population. Conversely, elderly patients are more predisposed to oral conditions due to age-related systemic diseases and functional changes. The major barriers to practising geriatric dentistry are the lack of trained faculty members, a crowded curriculum and monetary concerns. For successful treatment, the practitioner must adopt a humanitarian approach and develop a better understanding of the feelings and attitudes of the elderly. Prevention and early intervention strategies must be formulated to reduce the risk of oral diseases in this population. In future, dental professionals must have a proper understanding of the magnitude of the services to be provided to the elderly. This could only be realised through an education programme in geriatric dentistry, which should be started without further delay. This article hence sets out the objectives, needs, present scenario, strategies and types of dental treatment required by the elderly population.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease
  • Curriculum
  • Dental Care for Aged*
  • Geriatric Dentistry / economics
  • Geriatric Dentistry / education
  • Geriatric Dentistry / trends*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / prevention & control
  • Oral Health
  • Patient Care Team