Geriatric dentistry content in the curriculum of the dental schools in Chile

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to identify the status of pre-doctoral geriatric dentistry education among all Chilean dental schools.

Background:

Chile is one of the most rapidly ageing countries in Latin America. Consequently, specific knowledge and training on the needs of elderly populations need to be emphasised in dental schools. The current extent and methods of teaching geriatric dentistry among the dental schools in Chile are unknown.

Materials and methods:

A web-based questionnaire was developed and sent to all 19 Chilean dental schools to identify which schools had a formal programme on geriatric dentistry and ask about their format, content and type of training of the faculty who taught in the programmes. Data were analysed, and a comparison was made among the schools.

Results:

Sixteen (84%) of the participant schools reported teaching at least some aspects of geriatric dentistry, using various methodologies, but only 7 (37%) had specific courses. Of those schools reporting a didactic content on geriatric dentistry, 71% included clinical training, either in the school's dental clinics or in an extramural service. Contents mostly included demographics of ageing, theories of ageing and medical conditions. More than half of the faculty (57%) stated that they had formal training in geriatric dentistry, 43% were trained in prosthodontics, public health or other areas.

Conclusions:

Although most dental schools taught geriatric dentistry, only some had a specific course. Most schools with formal courses followed the international curriculum guidelines for geriatric dentistry.

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