Geriatric Dentistry

Geriatric dentistry is the delivery of dental care to older adults involving diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment of problems associated with age related diseases.
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.
Older adults are more susceptible to oral conditions or diseases due to an increase in chronic conditions and physical/mental disabilities. Thus, the elderly form a distinct group in terms of provision of care.
Many of these are the sequelae of neglect in the early years of life, for example, consumption of a diet which causes teeth to decay, lack of awareness regarding preventive aspects, and habits like smoking and/or tobacco, pan, and betel nut chewing.
All these problems may increase in magnitude because of the declining immunity in old age and because of coexisting medical problems. As a result of poor systemic health, the elderly patient often does not pay sufficient attention to oral health.
In addition, medications like antihypertensives, antipsychotics etc., lead to xerostomia, and the absence of the protective influences of saliva in the oral cavity increases the predisposition to oral disease.


Edentulism is the result of a mostly preventable oral disease process that is a worldwide public health concern. The loss of the permanent dentition is a multi-factorial process resulting from the impact of dental caries, periodontal disease and social factors. People who have lost teeth are referred to as (either partially or completely) edentulous (edentate), however those who have not lost teeth are referred to as dentate.

Functions of Teeth

• Support the lips and cheeks, providing for a fuller, more aesthetically pleasing appearance
• Maintain an individual's bite or occlusion
• Along with the tongue and lips, assist with proper pronunciation of words
• Preserve/maintain the height of the alveolar ridge
• Mastication of food

Consequences Of Edentulism

• Resorption of alveolar ridge
• Reduced chewing efficiency & Limitation of food selection
• Speech impairment
• Change in appearance
• Psychosocial impact
• Reduced quality of life

Why Replace A Missing Tooth/Teeth?

• Aesthetics
• Improved function
   • Mastication
   • Speech
• Prevention of food packing and mucosal trauma
• Space maintenance
• Alveolar bone maintenance
• Reestablishment of occlusion and prevention of malocclusion
• Reduce load on remaining teeth