Grant helps foster education, innovation in caring for edentulous patients

July 1, 2009
Data highlights the roles dental professionals must play in providing quality oral health care and emotional support to denture patients.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania--GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has announced the release of new data on the future of edentulism, highlighting the roles dental professionals must play in providing quality oral health care and emotional support to denture patients.

The research, funded through an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, was originally presented at the Federation Dentaire International World Congress and was recently published by the American College of Prosthodontists in its March issue of the Journal of Prosthodontics.

The results of the research show the psychological impact the denture process can have on patients, and underscore the need for dental professionals to provide emotional support and education throughout the process.

The research, performed by doctors from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, the Mayo Clinic, Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, and the UCLA School of Dentistry, cites data showing that increasing life expectancies and the size of the aging population will result in a sustained demand for dentures in the coming years.

While dental implants are becoming more popular, the researchers caution that not every patient is a good candidate and many cannot afford the procedure, meaning that dentures will remain an important treatment for edentulism.

"Dentistry has left a significant and growing number of patients behind," wrote Dr. Jonathan Ferencz in an introduction to the research within the Journal of Prosthodontics.

Dr. Ferencz cites the increasing number of edentulous patients, lack of technological improvements to dentures, declining denture curriculum in schools, and practicing dentists' loss of interest in the field as factors in a "perfect storm" that is threatening quality care.

Additional highlights from the work show that denture wearers are at risk for multiple oral and systemic disorders, reinforcing the need for careful treatment and regular recall visits. Furthermore, one paper outlines the serious emotional impact that receiving dentures can have on a patient's life and concludes that determining patient expectations prior to treatment is critical.

Additionally, data shows that use of a denture adhesive can help improve patient acceptance and adaptation to new dentures, easing the transition process for patients.

The new data complements earlier research performed by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on helping patients transition to life with dentures and properly care for them. Those studies showed that use of Polident cleanser helped keep denture surfaces smooth, limiting the growth of bacteria and helping to keep dentures odor-free.

Another study on Super PoliGrip adhesive found the product beneficial even for well-fitting dentures, with patients reporting increased confidence, comfort and satisfaction when using the adhesive.

"As the baby boomer population ages, the demographics of denture patients are expected to shift, and it is imperative for dentists to be prepared to work with this changing population," said Eric Sensky, GlaxoSmithKline Denture Care Brand Manager. "GlaxoSmithKline is dedicated to helping dental professionals serve these patients and assist them with feeling comfortable and confident with their dentures."

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