Oral Health for Independent Older Adults

The practice of dentistry is being significantly impacted by the growing older adult population within the United States. Oral health professionals will increasingly need to more effectively assess and diagnose oral problems, as well as skillfully provide a diverse and frequently complex range of preventive, restorative, prosthodontic, endodontic, periodontal, and surgical services to geriatric patients. Understanding the important aspects of the actual delivery of dental services and maintenance of care of geriatric patients is essential to preparing future dentists to meet the oral health challenges facing our "graying" population. This resource guide is intended to support predoctoral dental education, highlighting the importance of comprehensive patient evaluation, the impact of basic science principles on aging, the impact of chronic disease and its treatment, and some of the socio-demographic factors that affect an older person's quality of life. The focus is on the vast majority of older Americans who are living independently and experience a variety of modulating factors on their general and oral health.

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