The challenges of delivering dental care to geriatric patients

“I think I’m just going to tie my tooth to a string and slam the door,” said one of my first patients, a kind and hilarious 83-year-old woman. We got an oral surgery consultation that cleared her extraction after considering her multiple comorbidities, and it was then I realized the unique challenges geriatric patients face in obtaining dental care.

Treating patients with dementia

It is estimated that by 2030, 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be 65 years or older. About five percent of the aging population is edentulous, and this number is expected to dwindle as more older adults are retaining their natural teeth. This group may be placed into one of three broad categories: (1) functionally independent older adults; (2) frail older adults; (3) functionally dependent older adults, according to an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

10 things I wish I knew before my dental mission trip

During spring break 2018, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador with my classmates and local dentists. I had never gone on a mission trip before, so I tried to approach everything with an open mind and enthusiasm. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and I can’t wait to go back next year. Since dental schools are increasing the availability of international service trips, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Opioid use: Reframing how we think about pain management

Imagine it is 2 a.m., and you are cramming for your pharmacology exam. You flip through the hundreds of flashcards you created to memorize the properties of the medications and corresponding treatment protocol. You come across analgesics, specifically opioids, and remember they are used to alleviate pain. In school, we learn about the properties and proper dosages of the drugs we will one day prescribe, as well as how to address potential concerns of usage with our patients, but in order to enhance our own patient care mentality, we should reframe how we think about pain management overall.