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FGDP(UK) publishes new guidance on dementia-friendly dentistry

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP(UK)) has published new guidance on the practice of dentistry for patients with dementia.

With around 850,000 people in the UK with the condition – 5% of the population – the Faculty says that dental professionals need to understand it, and adapt their patient management and clinical decisions accordingly. The result of a multidisciplinary collaboration, notably with the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia-Friendly Dentistry: Good Practice Guidelines covers:

  • The epidemiology and diagnosis of dementia, and its implications for dental professionals
  • Principles of care management, including patient identification, competence and referrals, communication, consent and capacity.
  • Clinical care, including history taking, treatment planning, care delivery and prescribing; and
  • Site-specific considerations for dental practices, care homes and domiciliary care.

The new book also signposts readers to local support, educational programmes and resources for patients, and contains over 50 recommendations for practitioners, categorised using the Faculty’s ‘ABC’ (Aspirational, Basic, Conditional) notation.

Dr Mick Horton, Dean of FGDP(UK), said:

“The Faculty’s core function is to raise the standards of care delivered to patients, and the provision of guidance by dentists, for dentists, is central to achieving this. As we mark our quarter century with our anniversary theme of a lifetime of dental care, it is fitting that our new guidance sets out what we can do to improve our care of patients with a condition that is of growing importance as the population ages.”

Paul Batchelor, Vice-Dean of FGDP(UK) and Editor of the new guidelines, added:

“Dementia affects many aspects of an individual’s life, and these guidelines are designed to help the profession understand the condition and its implications for dental practice. By ensuring high standards of care, dentists can help minimise some of dementia’s potential effects, particularly those also associated with poor oral health, such as worsening of diet and social isolation, and a concomitant decline in general wellbeing.”

Emma Bould, Programme Partnership Project Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society said;

“Dentists have a crucial role to play in the community for people with dementia, and because dementia gets worse over time, it is important, as far as possible, to establish a dental care programme at, or soon after, a diagnosis. We also know that for many dementia patients looking after their teeth can become a real problem – remembering to brush regularly, communicating dental pain and even managing dental appointments can all be a real struggle. Therefore it is imperative that all dementia patients have access to supportive oral healthcare and are understood when they visit their local dentist. We welcomed working with the FGDP(UK) on these new guidelines, which are an important step to helping more people affected by dementia to live well with their condition, and we hope that dentists across the UK will put them into practice.”

To help mark its 25th anniversary, the Faculty will be sending a complimentary copy of the book to its 4,500 members, as well as all new members who join this year. Non-members can buy it at www.fgdp.org.uk/shop.

Until the end of 2017, FGDP is also offering a 25% ‘anniversary discount’ on its complete set of guidance publications, which also includes Standards in Dentistry, Clinical Examination and Record-Keeping, Selection Criteria for Dental Radiography, and Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners.