The growing number of individuals over the age of sixty-five with specific dental needs requires increased teaching efforts to adequately prepare predoctoral dental students. The study assessed whether such increases in undergraduate gerodontology teaching in German-speaking countries between 2004 and 2009 occurred. Questionnaires were mailed in 2004 and 2009 to all deans (n=37) and all department heads (n=140) of Austrian, Swiss, and German dental schools. Results show that gerodontology is still mostly included in traditional core subjects but that specific lecture series and practical teaching have increased. These cover a broad variety of subjects including geriatric medicine, gerontopsychiatry, nursing care, pharmacology, and public health. The number of departments with dedicated staff for gerodontology, research activities, and mean number of publications has increased. Barriers to the further integration of the subject include its continued exclusion from final examinations in Austria and Germany. Guidelines of the European College of Gerodontology (2009), which aim to prepare students to provide dental treatment to seniors by teaching theoretical knowledge, practical skills, patient management techniques, and the ethical foundation of gerodontology, need to be implemented. Continued professional education of faculty in all departments, intensified cooperation between universities, and the presence of faculty specializing in gerodontology are suggested.
Keywords: Austria; Germany; Switzerland; dental education; geriatric dentistry; gerondontology.