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Keywords:

  • geriatric dentistry;
  • dental health services;
  • dental education;
  • delivery of health care;
  • dentistry for handicapped

Abstract

The high prevalence of disorders in the mouths of elderly residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities suggests that the dental services available to the residents are inadequate. A questionnaire was sent to most of the dentists practicing in Vancouver (British Columbia) to solicit their opinions on treating older patients in LTC facilities, and a response was obtained from 334 (55%). It indicated that 19 percent of the respondents had treated old people within this context, although few of them felt they had been educated adequately for the service. Many reasons were offered to explain the small participation. Most respondents had never been asked to attend a facility. Many felt that it interfered with their practice and leisure, and they were concerned about the limited options available for treatment. Dentists who had attended facilities were motivated by a sense of professional or public responsibility, but they were uneasy about the limited options and about the inadequate space and equipment available. In general, the dentists were not interested in attending an institutionalized geriatric population, and they felt ill-prepared for the service