Geriatric oral health competency among dental providers

Maryam Tabrizi, Wei Chen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Geriatrics as an educational topic has been a high priority in current health care. The innovative Age-Friendly health system with the 4Ms structure (what Matters most, Medication, Mentation, Mobility) needs to be integrated into oral health and dental services training. The purpose of this study is to respond to one question: are the graduating general dentists trained and prepared to treat medically vulnerable elderly in communities? Methods: All pre-doctorate dental students from first year to fourth year were invited to voluntarily respond to an online survey provided on Qualtrics. The survey provided examples of two broken molar teeth that need extraction. First, students were asked how comfortable they felt extracting the two molars based on the x-rays. Then, the question was repeated to evaluate if they felt comfortable with extracting the teeth in a patient with one chronic condition and related medication(s). Finally, the students were again questioned whether they feel comfortable to provide the same service to medically vulnerable patients with multiple health conditions and polypharmacy. Results: The majority of students who participated in this study said they were comfortable with extracting the teeth of patients without any chronic condition. However, many more chose to refer medically vulnerable patients with multiple chronic conditions and polypharmacy to a specialist. Conclusions: Dental education in many U.S. dental schools may provide adequate education and create competent general dentists. Yet, the competency and confidence required for dentists to be able to treat older adults with multiple health conditions and using prescribed or over-the-counter medication is insufficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-690
Number of pages9
JournalAIMS Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • dental provider
  • geriatric population
  • health literacy
  • oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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