• geriatric dentistry;
  • teaching;
  • dental curriculum;
  • elder people

The World Health Organization has predicted an increase in the population of elderly people.

Objective:  The purpose of this study was to investigate the teaching of geriatric dentistry in Brazilian universities.

Materials and methods:  This study consisted of questionaires regarding the training in geriatric dentistry in 104 dental schools included in the National Institute of Education Research (INEP) in 2001. In order to calculate the sample (a random stratified one), the confidence interval was set at 99% and a maximum permitted error of 3% was adopted. Pearson's chi-square test was used in the inferential analysis.

Results:  From the 64 dental courses which were studied, only 25 included geriatric dentistry in the curriculum. From 1857 students who were involved in the study, 41% sought knowledge outside the dental school and 98% considered that it was important that this subject should be included in the curriculum. There was statistical significance between geriatric dentistry teaching and the students’ preference as well as the prospect of working with this group of the population. Geriatric dentistry as an individual subject was absent from the curriculum in two-thirds of the dental courses investigated. Knowledge was often transmitted as part of dental prosthetics and most of the students stated that they would want to be able to treat elderly people. It was relevant to note that senior students expected to work in this field.

Conclusion:  Dental students in Brazil do not have adequate training in geriatric dentistry.