Managing Dry Mouth - L0741


About Course #L0741

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Review Date: June 14, 2019

Expiration Date: December 31, 2019

The oral and general health of individuals is determined by, and dependent on, an adequate salivary flow. Salivary clearance is essential to reducing the cariogenic potential of foodstuffs as well as providing a mechanism for remineralization of dental enamel after minor assaults such as ingestion of acidic foods and beverages. This course addresses dry mouth, referred to as xerostomia, which is a common symptom often associated with a decrease in the amount and/or quality of saliva (also called hyposalivation). Xerostomia is not a disease unto itself but may be a symptom of a disease or a side effect of medical treatment. It is also a common daily condition among the patient population older than age 65. Although not life-threatening, dry mouth can produce serious negative effects on the patient's quality of life. These effects may include changes in dietary habits and subsequent nutritional status, difficulty with speech, a decrease in taste, intolerance to removable dental prostheses, and an increased susceptibility to dental caries.

This basic-level course describes the role that saliva plays in general and dental health, as well as the causes and consequences of compromised salivary production. Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants will gain an understanding of the scope of this problem, and increase their ability to identify and manage this condition.

AGD Subject Code: 750

Course Objectives

  • Describe the composition and functions of saliva.
  • Identify the signs and symptoms of dry mouth.
  • Identify potential causes of dry mouth.
  • Describe the dental management and treatment of dry mouth.

Western Schools designates this activity for 2 continuing education credits.

About the Authors

Gregori M. Kurtzman, DDS, MAGD, FACD, is in private general practice in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on the topics of restorative dentistry, endodontics, dental implant surgery, and prosthetics and has had numerous journal articles published in peer-reviewed publications. He has earned Fellowships in the Academy of General Dentistry, the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the American College of Dentists, as well as Masterships in the Academy of General Dentistry and the Implant Prosthetic Section of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.

Howard E. Strassler, DMD, FADM, FAGD, is professor and director of operative dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in the Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry. He is a Fellow in the Academy of Dental Materials and the Academy of General Dentistry, as well as a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of Operative Dentistry, and the International Association of Dental Research.

Course Disclosures

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools' policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.