Issues in Financing Dental Care for the Elderly

Academic Article


  • 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 policy 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. Copyright © 1990, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jones JA; Adelson R; Nlessen LC; Gilbert GH
  • Start Page

  • 268
  • End Page

  • 275
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 4