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Simulation Workshop Ensures Future Dentists Are Prepared to Treat Older Adults

As people age, natural wear and biological changes affect the dentition and oral cavity, including slower cell renewal, thinner connective tissue, and reduced bone density. Gingiva may recede, exposing tooth roots and increasing caries risk. Nerve-rich pulp inside the teeth shrinks, resulting in reduced sensitivity, making it more difficult for older adults to realize they are experiencing tooth pain. Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston specializes in geriatric dentistry and has created a new simulation curriculum to ensure the next generation of dentists is prepared to care for older adults. Third-year dental students will now undergo a simulation workshop that provides an in-depth understanding of what older adults need when it comes to dental care. The students wear suits that simulate common aging maladies such as macular degeneration, hearing loss, reduced mobility, and limited dexterity. The students then attempt to perform simple oral hygiene activities including brushing and flossing. A group discussion follows where students share what they’ve discovered as well as strategies for helping older adults maintain their oral health as they age. Click here to read more.

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