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Keywords:

  • elderly;
  • undergraduate teaching;
  • geriatric dentistry;
  • gerodontology

Objective:  To survey the present state of undergraduate teaching in the domain of gerodontology in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Study participants:  All universities of Austria (A), Germany (D) and Switzerland (CH).

Protocol:  A questionnaire on undergraduate teaching in gerodontology was mailed to all Deans (A: n = 3; CH: n = 4; D: n = 31) and all independent departments except paediatric dentistry and orthodontics (A: n = 11; CH: n = 15; D: n = 111).

Results:  The questionnaires were completed and returned by 29 Deans (A: n = 2; CH: n = 4; D: n = 23) and 102 departments (A: n = 7; CH: n = 8; D: n = 87). In Austria, gerodontology is a very small component of the dental curriculum and the Deans did not want this to be increased. Most German universities claimed to teach some aspects of gerodontology to undergraduate students and 87.4% of the Deans voted for separate lectures in gerodontology. In Switzerland, gerodontology seems well established. The results of questionnaires from the independent departments revealed that in all three countries lectures were more prevalent (A: n = 0; CH: n = 4; D: n = 6) than practical training in nursing homes (A: n = 0; CH: n = 3; D: n = 6).

Conclusion:  Considering the demographical shift which is leading to an increasing proportion of elderly in the population, the weighting of gerodontology in the undergraduate dental curriculum should be considered for revision in Austria and Germany.