Faculty Articles

Title

Issues in financing dental care for the elderly

ISBN or ISSN

0022-4006

Publication Title

Journal of Public Health Dentistry

Volume

50

Issue

4

Publication Date / Copyright Date

1-1-1990

First Page

268

Last Page

275

DOI Number

10.1111/j.1752-7325.1990.tb02134.x

Abstract

The elderly make up an increasingly larger segment of the patient population in dental practices. This article reviews recent epidemiologic, demographic, and health services research, and concludes that significant segments of the elderly are at high risk for oral disease and/or limited access to dental treatment, and consequently warrant classification as high-risk groups for policy considerations. It then proposes policy options to the dental community and public decision makers. Oral care can be viewed as having three components. Two basic components are the primary care component--which includes diagnostic, preventive restorative, and periodontal care--and the acute care component--i.e., the treatment of oral pain, trauma, and infection. The third, rehabilitative component, has to do with the restoration of oral function, including prosthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. Viewing dental care in this perspective may help link funding for dental primary care services with that for other primary health services, and link restoration of function and improvement of quality of life with similar health services, like hearing, vision, and social services. In addition, approaching dental care policy makers on several levels--i.e., federal, state, and local--will contribute to our ability as a profession, in the decades ahead, to meet the oral health needs of more elders: including the frail, those at high risk for oral disease, and those with limited access to care.

Disciplines

Dentistry

Keywords

dental care, elderly, health policy

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Peer Reviewed

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