Section 2 - Managing the Ageing Dentition / 2.5 Article: Treating the Older Patient - Considerations

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When treating the elderly patient there are a number of additional considerations that need to be made, these include:

  • Determining an appropriate time for an appointment. Certain times of day may be better for the patient depending on their health and medications that they take. Additionally, they may rely on a lift or public transport. When scheduling an appointment, check with the patient; do not assume that they are able to attend at any time.
  • Collect detailed health histories, including a list of all medications, and advice on oral health and if on medications, discuss the management of dry mouth.
  • Assess the reasoning ability of elderly patients. Always ensure that they understand the information that is being delivered and can provide informed consent.
  • Highlight the importance of preventive care. Prevention works at every age.
  • Do not treat vulnerable adults like children. No matter what the age or disability, if they are an adult, they need to be treated like one.
  • Staff should be educated and trained in dental care for the elderly.