One specialty that is relatively knew, recognized in 2002, Geriatric Dentistry, takes care of buccal health and life quality of the elderly. Our society is going through great changes when we analyze the population age. People are living more and it is the interest of the fields of health to study ways to improve senior’s life quality. It would be an interesting choice for those dentists that are looking for a specialization option and that like that area, since the number of specialists in the area in Brazil is lower than 300.
The area specialist studies aging in the whole stomatognathic system, makes the diagnostics, treats the buccal pathologies of the elderly patient, including the ones that derivate from medicine and irradiation therapies and works with multidisciplinary teams for planning the odontology attention to the geriatric patient.
We know that older patients bring a great amount of health problems (buccal or not) acquired during their lives. Dental loss, bruxism, articular pain, less salivation, dental wear, fractures and periodontal disease, which may reach most of the Brazilian population above the age of 60. Those patients are also special patients because they may also have a diagnostics of systemic diseases such as Diabetes or Arterial Hypertension. Therefore, they manifest buccal symptoms related to systemic diseases, not to mention the large number of different medication that they take on a regular basis.
The dentist that is specialized in geriatric dentistry should be totally prepared to treat and welcome the elderly patients. The clinic has to be prepared for receiving those patients with adapted physical facilities, avoiding stairways, having support accessories such as pillows for the neck, wheelchairs, and specially adapted restrooms with wall bars. The clinic must invest in technology for the comfort of the patient as well as shorter appointments.
It is known that geriatric patients have more sensitive and thinner mucosa. They also show different coloring and format of the teeth and lower perception of taste. An elderly with buccal problems and dental loss will have difficulty in controlling systemic diseases, following healthier diets and, consequently, will have his/her life quality worsened.
Geriatric Dentistry is a beautiful specialty that encompasses Estomathology, Special Patient Specialty, Prosthesis and Rehabilitation, Periodontics and Aesthetics among others, in order for people to live longer and better lives, improving their mastication, food savoring, speaking, breathing and smiling.
Source: Dr. Luiz Rodolfo http://bit.ly/2fm26qP