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Annual Session course seeks to help dental professionals feel at ease treating older patients

Las Vegas—Dental professionals who want to feel more at ease when treating older patients will want to attend a new ADA Annual Session continuing education program Oct. 11, Your Patients Are Getting Older: Getting Comfortable Meeting Their Needs.

Image: Dr. Helgeson
Dr. Helgeson
This free panel discussion course, presented by four experts in geriatric oral health issues, will discuss practical considerations for treating older adults with complex medical histories, support systems changed by life events and challenging dental conditions. It is one of five courses offered in the Annual Session Geriatric Dentistry Track and is sponsored by the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations.

The panelists include Paul Mulhausen, M.D., a geriatrician and director of the Iowa City VA Medical Center Geriatric Evaluation and Management Center; and Drs. Michael Helgeson, Teresa Johnson and Elizabeth Christian of Apple Tree Dental, a Minnesota-based nonprofit dental provider that treats patients with special needs, including older adults.

“The older adult population will be doubling to more than 70 million Americans over the next few decades, so it’s not too soon for general dentists to begin enhancing their offices and their clinical skills so they are more comfortable serving older adults,” said Dr. Helgeson. “Older adults are living longer lives yet struggling with disabling chronic diseases, so there is a tremendous need for dentists to learn more about geriatric medicine and dentistry.”

Participants will learn to more comfortably and confidently plan treatment for medically complex older patients, learn to be proactive in communicating with patients’ physicians and pharmacists and make simple changes that make the dental office more senior friendly.

The course, designed for dentists, hygienists, assistants and business assistants, will be held Oct. 11, 8:15-10:45 a.m. at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center (course 6309).

For more details on this course or other courses in the Geriatric Dentistry Track, or to register, log on to