“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.
The 2014 U.S. Census estimated 63.7 million adults 65 years and older will be living in the United States by 2050. Elderly adults are now more likely to keep their teeth, live independently and demand better care. However, they are also more likely to have xerostomia, physical or cognitive impairments and other comorbidities.