UW School of Dentistry

DENT 534

Geriatric Dentistry

Susanne Kölare Jeffrey

1 Credit Per Quarter, 2 Credits Total
Quarters 10 & 11 (Course #1: Winter, Third Year; Course #2: Spring, Third Year )

Course Description

(Part #1): Special needs of elderly persons related to dental care: physiology and psychology of aging, systemic and oral health issues affecting older adults, medications used by elders and their potential adverse effects on oral health, socioeconomic issues and disparities which affect oral health and access to care.

(Part #2): Dental management of elderly patients, providing appropriate clinical services recognizing impact of systemic health, medications, psychosocial, socioeconomic barriers, and managing frail elders in long-term care settings, and conducting appropriate treatment planning.

Educational Objectives

(Part #1): The student will gain knowledge in Geriatric Dentistry, issues concerning the elderly population today, the aging process, and the effects of aging upon oral health. The objectives in this first course will be for the student to: (1) Understand the demographics of aging in the current time, and what this will look like during your active years as a practicing dentist; (2) Understand physiological, sensory and cognitive changes that occur with aging, and current practices to promote “slow” aging; (3) Recognize oral changes that occur with aging.

(Part #2): Objectives in the second course in this series will be: (1) to coordinate dental care with other health care disciplines, e.g., medicine, pharmacy, social work, and nursing; (2) to develop competency in performing clinical procedures with geriatric patients aligned with their special needs; (3) to understand how specific dental procedures (restorative, endodontic, periodontal, prosthodontic, oral surgery) differ in older vs. younger patients; and (4) to develop comprehensive treatment plans which consider the health, physiological and psychological status, as well as the overall health of elderly patients..

Course Outline

(Part #1): Lecture topics include: Demographics of aging and learning from centenarians how to age slowly, life styles which promotes slow aging and enhances quality of life,age changes – normal physiological, sensory and cognitive changes that occur with aging, growing old in a new age: learning, memory, and speed of behavior, aging of the nervous system: normal cognitive decline and dementia, aging of the immune system, oral changes occurring with aging, end of life, palliative oral care.

(Part #2): Topics focus on clinical issues: update on medications used by the elderly and their ADRs; preventive dentistry; periodontal disease and its management in older patients; performing restorative, endodontic, prosthodontic, and oral surgical procedures with geriatric patients; treating frail and high risk elderly patients; and treatment planning issues in geriatric dental care.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status (Course #1) .
  • UWSOD Competency 2: Communicate the risks and benefits of proposed care and alternative treatment strategies available, then obtain expressed consent for treatment conveyed by a patient or legal guardian (Course #1, 2).
  • UWSOD Competency 3: Formulate a comprehensive treatment plan based on diagnostic findings, then implement treatment in a safe, properly sequenced, timely manner (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 4: Provide patient education in the prevention of oral diseases to promote oral and general health (Course #1) .
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and periradicular disease (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 8: Manage dental emergencies (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 14: Manage periodontal diseases (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 15: Assess the teeth and supporting structures and provide preventive services (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 16: Manage diseases and conditions of the teeth (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 17: Manage replacement of teeth for the partially or completely edentulous patient (Course #2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 22: Utilize critical thinking in assessing technical and scientific information for use in identifying patient needs and treatments (Course #1, 2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 23: Apply the principles of behavioral science that pertain to patient-centered oral health care (Course #1, 2) .
  • UWSOD Competency 25: Manage a diverse patient population and have the interpersonal and communication skills to function successfully in a multicultural work environment (Course #1) .


  • Syllabus, DENT 534 containing assigned articles and chapters from various textbooks.

*last updated: 3/9/2015