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Objective: To assess the specialties involved in oral health care of the elderly
Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive cross-sectional study conducted using dental records of patients aged 65 years or more who had visited the dental clinic of 2 tertiary hospitals (National Hospital Abuja and University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City) over a 6-month period from June 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. The patients were classified by age as follows; 65-74 years youngest-old, 75-84 years middle-old and those aged 85 and above oldest old. The data of interest collated from the retrieved records were age, gender, diagnosis made and specialties involved in management of the oral health conditions. All data was screened for completeness and analysed using IBM SPSS statistics for windows version 26.0 (IBM Corp. Armonk, N.Y., USA).
Results: A total of 177 records of elderly patients were utilized for this study with 67.2% from UBTH and the remaining 32.8% from National Hospital Abuja. The youngest-old (65-74years) made up 73.4% of the cases and females accounted for 60.5% of cases. Multiple diagnoses were made in 58.2% of cases with multiple specialties involved in treatment of 45.5% of cases. Five specialties (prosthodontics, conservative dentistry, periodontology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and oral medicine) were involved in management of these cases. More than half (55.4%) received treatment from periodontology and the least represented specialty was oral medicine (3.4%). A higher proportion (69.9%) of cases with multiple diagnosis received treatment from periodontology specialty and this was statistically significant (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Elderly patients irrespective of age have similar oral problems and required similar specialist care.
Multiple specialties are involved in the oral health care management of elderly patients with periodontology specialty followed by oral and maxillofacial specialty rendering care in most cases. Oral care of the elderly can be centred around the periodontist if a dedicated geriatric dentist is unavailable.