The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. With the joys of aging come the development chronic conditions that need to be monitored, including oral health. In the elderly, the most common oral diseases are periodontal disease and dental caries; oral lesions and xerostomia are also very common oral conditions among the elderly. In senior living centers, there is a common lack of oral hygiene, which expediates these conditions, leaving our senior population susceptible to pain and inevitably tooth loss. In order to combat this silent epidemic, The TeleDentists has partnered with SalivaMAX to provide teledentistry and relief to xerostomia and other oral health conditions.
The TeleDentists® offer “the first of its kind” virtual dental service. A national network of licensed dentists utilizes a variety of virtual tools (smart phones, tablets, laptops) to assist in diagnosing, remediate and, when needed, arrange local dental appointments the next business day. In senior living centers, for example, if a patient is complaining of dental pain, they can have a virtual dental consult with The TeleDentists, without leaving their home. The dentist can then prescribe medication if necessary, to help palliate the patient, and find an appointment for them at a convenient location near them. This prevents multiple trips to doctors’ offices, which can be very taxing on the elderly and their caretakers. It also reduces costs by limiting the number of visits to the professionals’ office.
Xerostomia (dry mouth) is one of the most common dental condition that presents in routine dental examinations. There are over 50 million patients in the United States that experience dry mouth with 17 and 29% being older adults. Xerostomia often occurs with other oral conditions such as idiopathic dysesthesia (stomatalgia or “burning mouth syndrome”), parageusia, dysphagia, halitosis, caries, and periodontal disease. There are over 1,100 medications that can cause dry mouth as well as many diseases that cause patients to develop dry mouth, like diabetes and hypertension. The development of dry mouth in these patients can cause serious complications in the oral cavity.
In order to combat the combining factors of an aging population and a disease that targets this age group, The TeleDentists and SalivaMAX have partnered. SalivaMAX is an FDA approved medication that is used to treat dry mouth and throat. The TeleDentists’ ability to expand dental access to senior living centers gives these patients the chance to discuss their dry mouth with a dental provider. The dentist can then provide the patient with a prescription for SalivaMAX. This partnership works not only treat a condition, but to extend dental care to a population who needs it most.