What is Geriatric Dentistry?

Geriatric dentistry is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the specific needs of the aging population. The dentists of Dental Home Services have extensive experience working with the elderly, the disabled, and Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients.

How is Geriatric Dentistry different from traditional dentistry?

One of the main differences between geriatric and traditional dentistry is in the approach. For example, if a patient is unable to walk or otherwise sit in a dental chair, we have the experience to treat the patient while they are in their wheelchair or in their bed. Similarly, we are very comfortable working with patients who have conditions such as Alzheimer’s, as we understand the unique approaches involved and the limitations. We have the patience to take the extra time needed to treat these patients. In fact, we have a dedicated blog post about how we work with patients who have Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. An additional difference has to do with treatment planning, as we have the ability to adapt a treatment plan to a specific situation for each patient.

One of the key challenges in providing care for elderly patients is the determination of how aggressively we should treat a dental problem. Our overriding goals are to make sure that our patients are pain-free and are able to eat, and our treatment plans reflect this philosophy. Thus, if a patient is unable to tolerate chair-time or multiple visits, we cater our treatment plans appropriately.

Is geriatric dentistry the same as mobile dentistry or working with a traveling dentist?

No. Geriatric dentistry refers to the specific way we work with elderly patients to meet their specific needs – whether they are ambulatory and able to visit a physical office, or at home or in a skilled nursing facility. A mobile or traveling dentist, by contrast, is a provider who works with people who are unable to visit a physical office, regardless of their age. Of course, a mobile dentist does do a significant amount of work with the elderly, as this segment of the population is the most likely group to have difficulty with ambulation.

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