Dentistry for Older Patients

Geriatric Dentistry at Ian Barwick, DMD

Topic 1: “Adults Are Living Longer” – 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.

During the last century we’ve witnessed a number of remarkable demographic changes related to health, disease, longevity and mortality of the world population. One out of twelve people in the developing countries is over sixty five: the twenty-first century will see longevity climb even further.

Topic 2: “Older Adults and Oral Health” – The mouth is referred to as a “mirror” of overall health, reinforcing that oral health is an integral part of general health. In the elderly population poor oral health has been considered a risk factor for general health problems. On the other hand, older adults are more susceptible to oral conditions or diseases due to an increase in chronic conditions and physical/mental disabilities. Thus, older individuals form a distinct group in terms of providing dental care.

Topic 3: “Common Oral Symptoms of Aging” – We’ve found that older patients are prone to:

  • dry mouth (“xerostomia”)
  • root surface decay
  • generalized decay
  • loose teeth
  • worn down teeth (“attrition “)
  • periodontal disease
  • missing teeth
  • lack of teeth (“edentulism”)
  • poor quality of bony ridges
  • ill-fitting dentures (see Implant-Supported Dentures)
  • soft tissue lesions or ulcerations
  • oral cancers

Topic 4: “Social Impact” – The untreated oral cavity in an older patient has deleterious effects on comfort, aesthetics, speech, chewing and, consequently, one’s quality of life in later years. Contact Dr. Barwick for a free consultation if you are having any of the problems mentioned above.


Geriatric Dentistry | (978) 957-5511