Issue One 2023
2023, Vol. 10, issue 1, (January)
Out-of-office Dental Care
There is a rising demand for dental treatment of elderly patients and it is the duty of the dental profession to ensure that their needs are met. Taking care of health includes not only regulation of nutritional intake and physical capabilities, but also maintenance of good oral health. For the elderly, preserving and improving the masticatory function is essential for supporting adequate physical and social contacts and a good quality of life. Access to care is a barrier in meeting the dental needs of a growing elderly population.
As life expectancy rises, the number of housebound elderly and sick patients increases. As a result of ongoing changes related to aging or disability and difficulty moving, visits to the dentist become a challenge. Many patients may find themselves confined to their homes for months and years and not seek dental care for significant periods of time. Lack of regular dental care puts them at risk of increased dental and oral pathology. A possible solution is to visit the patient if she/he cannot come to the dentist’s office. Out-of-office dental care is provided in the environment in which the person resides permanently or temporarily. It is most often performed in homes for the elderly, hospitals, day care centers.
The oral treatment of a person at home allows the dental physician to assess not only the oral condition of the patient, but also the general medical condition. Out-of-office visits can be performed by a trained dentist who specializes in providing out-of-office care. Special consideration must be given to the equipment and supplies that will be needed, as advance organization is the key to success in an out-of-office visit.
Out-of-office dental care is still a new concept. Extending the current range of dental care to home residents would improve their poor oral health status. It has been shown that the provision of oral care can improve the general health and reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition and other serious complications, thereby reducing additional health care costs.
Keywords: out-of-office, dental care, elderly people