• Dental students develop program addressing geriatric oral health at local nursing home

      Wilson, Nancy Lyn; Ciarrocca, Katharine; Chana, Monica; Augusta University, Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: The elderly, especially those who reside in institutions and have a minority or low-income background, often have unmet oral health needs. As life expectancy increases, so will the need for oral health providers skilled in addressing the unique challenges presented by geriatric patients. Methods: Dentists for Della is a student organization at the Dental College of Georgia that aims to improve the oral health status of residents at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home (GWVNH) in Augusta, Georgia. The students conduct fundraising activities so that third and fourth year students can provide needed dental treatment at no cost to the residents. Students also regularly rotate at GWVNH in order to provide tooth brushing help, denture cleanings, and head and neck examinations, including oral cancer screenings. Results: Dentists for Della has funded approximately $40,000 worth of dental work since 2013. The program also provides an educational experience valued by students: the ability to interact with patients as early as their first semester of dental school. Conclusions: Dentists for Della is a vital program which not only provides educational opportunities in institutional public health dentistry and geriatrics for dental students, it also provides a much needed safety net for Georgia veterans with no ability to access other means of dental care