Better With Age
Now in its 38th year, Compendium knows a thing or two about aging well. As the first university-affiliated (University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine) dental periodical to provide journal-based continuing education to its readers, the publication has a distinguished history of excellence in dental instruction that includes publishing thematic issues on such pertinent topics as guided tissue regeneration, oral-systemic health, and implant dentistry. In this special issue, we focus on a topic of significant magnitude: dentistry and the aging patient.
As you will read in the following pages, a tsunami of older patients reaching retirement age but living longer is soon to sweep across the dental landscape. According to a recent ABC News report, the number of Americans aged 65 or older increased tenfold in the past century, and not only are elderly folks living longer, but they are generally in better health than ever before. With the aging of baby boomers, the 65+ crowd will encompass some 70 million by 2030. This number is expected to reach nearly 100 million by 2060.
This means that America, including its dental care infrastructure, needs to be ready to meet the healthcare requirements of this budding group. What are the needs of this elder cohort? What effects do systemic diseases have on oral health? Should the dental community be working more closely with interdisciplinary medical teams to treat elderly patients? And what about payment options?
With the help of the venerable Dr. Michael C. Alfano, President of the Santa Fe Group and Executive Vice President Emeritus at New York University, who is serving as Guest Editor, we tackle several of these issues affecting the oral and overall health of geriatric patients. I will direct you to Dr. Alfano’s editorial on page 586 for his perceptive thoughts on this topic and a breakdown of the featured articles, which he helped curate. I thank Dr. Alfano, who is recognized as an innovator in healthcare education, for not only his contribution to this special issue of Compendium but for his leadership in initiating improvements in the health and well-being of America’s seniors.
Please enjoy the issue, and be sure to visit our redesigned and better-than-ever website at compendiumlive.com.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD