Oral Health Care of Our Aging Population

Geriatic dentist near me
Emerging Oral Health Concerns

Two important oral health care concerns emerging in the United States are disparities in the oral disease burden and the inability of certain segments of the population to access oral healthcare.[1]  Older Americans are becoming a larger segment of our population and suffer disproportionately from oral diseases, with the problem being particularly acute for individuals in long term care facilities.  Population projections for the United States indicate that the elderly will constitute an increasing percentage of the population as we proceed into the 21st century.

In 2001, the population of the United States was almost 278 million, and 12.6% of the population was 65 years of age or older. By 2015, the population increased to 312 million (3.08 million in 2010) and 14.7% of the population will be aged 65 years or older.  In 2030, which is within the practice lives of students currently enrolled in dental schools, the population will have increased to more than 350 million, and 20% of the population—1 of every 5 members of the US society—will be 65 years of age or older.  This large segment of our population is further compounded by the elderly population continuing to become increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity,financial resources, and living conditions.[2]

The challenges faced by both the dental profession and the nation as a whole regarding provision of oral health care services to older adults are the subject of a recent report prepared by Oral Health America.[3]  All 50 states were surveyed to determine the level of Medicaid coverage for dental services, and the report concludes that financing oral health care services for the elderly will be a major challenge to our future.  Medicare does not provide any coverage for dental services, and only 1 of 5 Americans aged 75 years or older has any type of private dental insurance.  Given our current economic circumstances and resulting problems with Obamacare, it will be highly unlikely that our government resources will be adequate to gear up for the impending problem of oral health in the elderly.

They suffer from chronic disorders that either directly or indirectly affect oral health, including autoimmune disorders such as pemphigus and pemphigoid.[4] They generally require multiple medications, and common side effects of the more than 500 medications used to treat their overall health issues usually reduce salivary flow.[5]  The reduction in saliva adversely affects their quality of life, the ability to chew, and leads to significant problems of the teeth and their supporting structures.

The elderly consistently have difficulty performing routine oral hygiene procedures because of physical limitations, such as Parkinson’s or rheumatoid arthritis.   In addition, oral infection is now recognized as a risk factor for a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases,diabetes, mellitus, and respiratory disorders.

Also,it is important to note that once people have lost their teeth and are using complete dentures, their oral health needs do not decrease.   Our jaws are not static and may continue to resorb over time.  In addditon to continued resorbtion of bone, improperly fitted dentures adversely affect chewing, leading to poor nutrition resulting in a shorter life expectancy.  Furthermore, those without teeth remain susceptible to oral cancer, mucosal diseases, and alterations in salivary gland function.

Geriatric Dentist near meSo for the vast majority of seniors residing in a long term care facility, financing of and access to oral health care services will be a formidable challenge. Given that medicare does not provide coverage for routine dental services including exams,and in the absence of private insurance or personal resources, a large portion of this group will not be able to afford any dental services whatsoever, let alone the most appropriate treatments.  Clearly, there must be a response to the increasing oral health concerns of the elderly who present with special needs, especially those who are home bound or living in long term  facilities burdened with other chronic disorders.

While effective preventive measures exist for younger populations (water fluoridation, dental sealants and parents), no preventive measures have been devised to address the expected increase in oral health needs of our aging population.  And the need for a coordinated effort to address their oral healthcare needs suggested by demographic trends and epidemiological data necessitates our planning for what might be considered a crisis or at least a paradigm shift in oral health care delivery for the elderly.

Seniors who have contributed so vitally to our society’s well-being, deserve to be treated with the best oral health care we have to offer.

Dr. Scheinfeld is a prosthodontist specializing in geriatric care. In addition, Dr. ZoAnna Scheinfeld and Dr. Hanna Orland have extensive nursing home experience.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

ZoAnna Scheinfeld, MS, DMD

Hanna Orland, DMD

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328

404-256-3620

and

3781 Chamblee Dunwoody Road

Chamblee, GA 30341

770-455-6076

www.rightsmilecenter.com

info@rightsmilecenter.com


[1] Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; 2000.

[2] Wikipedia and 2010 Census.

[3] A State of Decay: The Oral Health of Older Americans. Chicago, Ill: Oral Health America; 2003:1–8.

[4] Stoopler ET, Sollecito TP, De Ross SS. Desquamative gingivitis: early presenting system of mucocutaneous disease. Quintessence Int.2003;34:582–586.

[5] Fox PC, Eversole LR. Diseases of the salivary glands. In: Silverman S, Eversole LR, Truelove EL, eds. Essentials of Oral Medicine. Ontario, Canada: BC Decker; 2002:260–276.

Elderly may have trouble Accessing Medical Records – Dentist Sandy Springs

Aging PatientsNEW YORK (Reuters Health) – “Electronic medical records will let patients access their health information over the Internet, but a new study suggests some of the most vulnerable older Americans may be left behind.”

This is an increasing concern as a significant number of our patients are 60 and older.  If we can be of help please contact us.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta, GA 30328

404-256-3620

info@rightsmilecenter.com

http://www.rightsmilecenter.com

Related Articles:

https://therightsmile.wordpress.com/tag/elderly-patients/

 

 

 

 

Dentist Buckhead: Older patients have special dental needs

Dentist near me for geriatric patientsMouths, like people, are affected by years as well as by genes. If you’re over 60, your oral chemistry is changing—and thorough examinations of gums and salivary glands can be a lifesaving early detector of oral cancer or other disease.  Older Americansare becoming a larger segment of our population and suffer disproportionately from oral diseases, with the problembeing particularly acute for individuals in long term care facilities.  They generally requiremultiple medications, and common side effects of the more than500 medications used to treat their overall health issues usually reduce salivary flow.[1]   Usually the reduction in salivacan adversely affect their quality of life, the ability to chew, and lead to significant problems of the teeth andtheir supporting structures.

The elderly may also have difficulty performing routine oralhygiene procedures because of physical limitations, such as Parkinson’s or rheumatoid arthritis.   In addition,oral infection is now recognized as a risk factor for a numberof systemic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases,diabetes, mellitus, and respiratory disorders.  Also,it is important to note that once people have lost their teeth and are using complete dentures, their oral healthneeds do not decrease.   Our jaws are not static and may continue toresorb over time.  Besides the continued resorption of bone, improperly fitted dentures can adversely affectchewing, leading to poor nutrition.  In addition, those without teeth remainsusceptible to oral cancer, mucosal diseases, and alterationsin salivary gland function.

As early as 55, patients are developing twice as many cavities as children do. All these health issues and their medications that create reduced saliva and cause dry mouth have become an open invitation for tooth decay and periodontal disease.  Does the patient have to make a choice between his or her general health verses their oral hygiene?  They shouldn’t have to.

What should you expect from a visit to your dental hygienist?  Along with your dental cleaning you may need professional scaling and root planing to remove harmful plaque and calculus deposits.  Your hygienist should also record the depths of your periodontal pockets (that space between your teeth and gums where decay and periodontal disease flourish).

Keeping track of you is a key part of the hygienist’s job. It includes keeping your dental chart and health history current, making preliminary oral inspections, and creating tooth impressions.

Your hygienist is also an educator—someone who can teach you preventive dentistry skills—brushing and flossing techniques that make for healthy, trouble-free gums and teeth, regardless your age or your onset of other health issues. Together, you two can make an unbeatable team!

Specializing in Geriatric Patients, Dr. Scheinfeld was trained in prosthodontics at Emory University School of Dentistry.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

ZoAnna Scheinfeld, MS, DMD

Hanna Orland, DMD

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328

404-256-3620

and

3781 Chamblee Dunwoody Road

Chamblee, GA 30341

770-455-6076

www.rightsmilecenter.com

info@rightsmilecenter.com

Related articles

 


[1] Fox PC, Eversole LR. Diseases of the salivary glands. In: Silverman S, Eversole LR, Truelove EL, eds. Essentials of Oral Medicine. Ontario, Canada: BC Decker; 2002:260–276.