With increasing frailty and complaint-oriented utilization of dental care, the prevalence of oral diseases also increases.
To clarify whether there is a need for dental prosthodontic treatment during residential acute geriatric rehabilitation.
Within 3 weeks in a hospital for acute geriatric patients, 79 out of 157 newly admitted patients were interviewed as study participants (age: median 79.0 years, range 66–96 years, female 51.9%), dental findings were recorded, treatment needs were determined but X‑rays were not taken.
Of the participants 31.1% had not seen a dentist for more than 1 year and 18.2% were edentulous. The median number of teeth in dentate participants was 16 (range 1–28 teeth); based on all participants, there was a median of 12.0 teeth (range 0–28 teeth). Of the 52 denture wearers (45 upper jaw and 43 lower jaw), 5 each of the maxillary and mandibular dentures could not be assessed because they were not available at the hospital. Moderate denture deficiencies were present in 62.5% of participants wearing upper dentures (mandibular 55.3%).
Dental treatment is needed in this vulnerable patient group. Therefore, the oral cavity should be assessed as part of the geriatric assessment. The available data confirm that the use of validated assessment instruments, such as the mini dental assessment as part of the comprehensive geriatric assessment would be useful. In addition to an oral examination, simple dental treatment should be provided to reduce infections and improve chewing ability. The geriatrician should be informed of the urgency of treatment. The overall rehabilitative approach of acute geriatric treatment would be complete if oral health would not be excluded.