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Geriatric Dentistry

Geriatric Dentistry

Geriatric dentistry or geriodontics is the delivery of dental care to older adults involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems associated with normal aging and age-related diseases as part of an interdisciplinary team with other health care professionals.


Geriatrics and Gerontology are often used to mean the same thing. Geriatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the illness and care of the aged, while Gerontology is the study of factors affecting the normal aging process and the effects of aging on persons of all ages.

Geriatric nursing focuses on the care of the sick elderly. Gerontologic nursing includes not only the care of the sick elderly, but also health maintenance, illness prevention, and the promotion of quality of life to assist the person to grow to an ideal state of health and well being.

Simply stated, our role as health care providers is to assist our elderly patients to get better, to maintain at their current status – accepting declines – or to ease their dying.

GENERAL CHANGES

The aging person tends to stoop forward, with head tilted backwards and hips, knees, and elbows flexed. This can lead to gait and stability problems.

With aging there is a gradual loss in the number of cells, such that by the time a person reaches 70, the body has 30% less cells. The cells are of irregular structure. The intracellular fluid decreases, although the extra-cellular fluid and plasma remain unchanged.

This change in intracellular volume leads to an increased risk of dehydration.

Other changes include:

  1. Decrease in serum albumin
  2. Increase in globulin
  3. Decreased ability to metabolize glucose resulting in higher blood glucose levels in the absence of diabetes.