Geriatric Dentistry Program

The UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program started in 2002 as a joint venture between Providence Health Care and the UBC Faculty of Dentistry. The program now offers services to the residential care populations of several other hospitals. In addition to dental service, the program is also committed to education and research. The model of care is based on fee-for-service delivery of dental care, although education and research are also integral parts. We hope to develop models of care that can be available to other health regions within the province and elsewhere.

Our dental service provides much needed care to the residents of the five Providence intermediate and extended care hospitals. In 2003, the program was expanded to serve additional facilities within the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Fraser Health Authority.

The goal of the program is to provide access to comprehensive dental services, which include an annual oral health assessment, and treatment as needed by dentists, dental hygienists, and dental specialists.

Mobile dental equipment is used to provide examinations and basic dental care at bedside. More complex treatments are provided at either clinics in the hospitals or at the UBC dental clinic.

The presence of a dental clinic heightens the hospital staff’s awareness of the importance of oral health, and specifically the provision of daily oral hygiene.

The Geriatric Dentistry Program educates hospital nursing staff, hospital residents and their families, dental students, and dentists. A dental hygienist trains nurses and care aides to provide daily oral hygiene and to recognize abnormalities in the mouth. UBC General Practice Residents (hospital-based dental residents) and dental hygiene students participate in clinical care and undergraduate dental students observe treatment.

Dental hygienists review hospital protocols, recommend oral hygiene products, provide in-service education, and monitor the provision of daily mouth care for residents. Mouthcare guidelines and protocols contain a separate denture labeling protocol, a nursing assessment of oral conditions form, algorithms for routine and specialized mouthcare, along with instructional materials for families of residents.

Researchers at the UBC Faculty of Dentistry were one of the first to document the distribution of oral health problems in long-term care facilities, and to explore ways of managing the problems. More recently the group has been investigating preventive strategies for dental diseases ranging from antibacterial agents to the education for care aides.

Graduate students (MSc and PhD) as well as Visiting Scientists to UBC are using information gathered by the Geriatric Dentistry Program to learn more about the dental needs of this vulnerable segment of the population.

For more information on the Geriatric Dentistry Program please contact:

Dr. Chris Wyatt
Director of the Geriatric Dentistry Program
Professor, Division of Prosthodontics
Tel: 604-822-1778

Ms. Shunhau To
Program Manager
Tel: 604-822-8064
Fax: 604-822-7736

Learn about the UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program at