Dentistry & Dental Hygiene

Oral health is closely associated with both physical and mental well-being in later life. Unfortunately, more than 60% of US states have a substantial shortage of dental practitioners willing to treat older adults (Raphael, 2017). Fortunately, increasing your exposure to geriatric care during your oral health care education can increase both your comfort level and your willingness to provide care to older persons (Wolff, Schenkel, & Allen, 2014).

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) seeks to graduate exceptional oral health care professionals, which includes demonstrated competency in Geriatric Dentistry. The program is very structured; second- and third-year students complete a didactic course in geriatrics and gerontology. In their third and fourth year, students spend 1-week blocks of time treating patients in the UMSOD Special Care & Geriatrics Clinic. Clinical students are encouraged to follow and to complete the care of patients in this program. 

Also within the School of Dentistry, the Division of Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science Degree Program provides 4 hours of didactic lecture on geriatrics in DHYG 323 Patients with Special Needs. Dental Hygiene students apply their knowledge in the clinical care and management of geriatric patients, as well as increase their comfort level in providing geriatric patient care in community service-learning courses, DHYG 413 and DHYG 423, undergraduate dental clinics, and block rotations in the senior year in the UMSOD Special Care & Geriatric Clinic.