Date: 20 April 2015

Geriatric dentistry, teaching and future directions


1. Aust Dent J. 2015 Mar;60 Suppl 1:125-30. doi: 10.1111/adj.12291. Geriatric dentistry, teaching and future directions. Slack-Smith LM(1), Hearn L, Wilson DF, Wright F. Author information: (1)School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

PMID: 25762049 [PubMed - in process]



Background: Many nations are facing a demographic shift in the age profile of their population, leading the World Health Organization to a 'Call for Public Health Action' on the oral health of older people.

Methods: A search of the literature relevant to geriatric dentistry teaching was undertaken using MEDLINE, Web of Science, Eric and Psychlit. A search of dental professional school websites in Australia and policy and international practice documents was undertaken.

Results: The international literature describes requirements for geriatric dentistry courses and various approaches to teaching, including didactic teaching, practical experiences and external placements. Challenges are identified in the area of geriatric dental education. Educational institutions (with others) have an obligation to lead change, yet there appears to be little formal recognition in Australian dental curricula of the need to develop quality education and research programmes in geriatric dentistry.

Conclusions: Internationally, the inclusion of geriatrics within dental curricula has been the subject of consideration since the 1970s.

The current evidence indicates that geriatrics/gerodontology is not a significant component of dental curricula. Given the projected age distribution in many countries, the need for implementation of dental curriculum content in the area of geriatrics/gerodontology is evident.

© 2015 Australian Dental Association.

Keywords: Curricula; education; gerodontics; planning; review

  • Dentist attention needed for geriatric patients (Medical Xpress - by Rob Payne), 20 Apr 2015

    “For older people, oral health issues can be a combination of effects of exposures over a life time, including sugar, smoking, alcohol, and the accumulation of dental problems,” Prof Slack-Smith says. Credit: Herry Lawford

    Dental schools in Australia need to adjust their curriculum to better deal with tooth challenges for an ageing population, research says.

    The University of Western Australia-led study says while experts have promoted addressing geriatrics within dental training since the 1970s, little has been done to put recommendations into practice. ... Read the full article