Dental Hygienist: Geriatric Dentistry: Providing Care for an Aging Population, 2nd edition WSL1015

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Course Description 
It is often difficult for dentists and dental hygienists to distinguish between normal aging-related changes in the tissues of the oral cavity and those resulting from pathological changes. Some dental professionals are unaware of appropriate strategies for dealing with patients with cognitive impairments who exhibit care resistance. Additionally, many dental professionals lack knowledge of the biological changes that occur as a part of normal aging and the clinical modifications that should be made in dental practice to accommodate those changes. This course will address these gaps in knowledge and many others. Knowledge gained in this course will help dental professionals prepare for the increased number of older adult patients who require their care now and those who will seek their care in the future. 

Course Objectives: 
  • Describe the demographic characteristics of older adults in the United States. 
  • Identify the normal biological changes associated with aging.
  • Explain the normal oral changes associated with aging. 
  • Describe the incidence of xerostomia and dental caries in older adults.  
  • Identify the oral-systemic links in the older adult population.
  • Describe access to care and utilization patterns of older adults.


About the Author:Pamela Stein, DMD, MPH, received her DMD degree from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 1990 and her master’s of public health degree from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in 2009. She practiced dentistry for 13 years as the attending dentist at two nursing home facilities. In 2003, Dr. Stein was appointed as a full-time faculty member at the University of Kentucky Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry. She is currently an associate professor in the Division of Public Health Dentistry at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, where she teaches geriatric dentistry and public health dentistry. Dr. Stein has served as the geriatric oral health consultant to the Kentucky Department of Public Health. She has received funding to investigate sustainable ways to improve the oral hygiene of nursing home residents and has created an oral care curriculum for caregivers of older adults. She has authored several manuscripts and presented nationally on the importance of oral health for older adults. Her other research interests include investigating potential linkages between oral disease and risk of dementia. Findings from her research have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the Journal of Dental Research, the Annals of Long-Term Care, and Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

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