ADAA View Course

Xerostomia: Recognition and Management (AGD 730)

Presenter: Philip C. Fox, DDS, FDS, RCSEd; Contributing Author, Wilhemina Leeuw, MS, CDA


Xerostomia (dry mouth) is the subjective feeling of oral dryness. It is important to recognize that xerostomia is not a diagnosis, but a symptom with multiple possible causes. Although dry mouth is most frequently associated with altered salivary gland function, there are other etiologies for this oral issue. It is important to perform a complete evaluation of the patient with dry mouth, determining, if possible, the cause of the xerostomia so that appropriate management can be instituted in a timely manner. As the population continues to age with the aids of health advancements and medications, this issue will continue to be a problem in dentistry. The patient with xerostomia who has salivary gland hypofunction is at risk for many oral complications and it is critical to institute appropriate preventive measures. Xerostomia may also be a consequence of systemic disease, and early recognition may aid in treatment. This course will review methods of evaluation for xerostomia and practical measures for management of the patient with dry mouth.


Philip C. Fox, DDS, FDS, RCSEd, received his BA and DDS degrees from Columbia University and completed training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Harlem Hospital Center, New York, N.Y. and a fellowship in oral medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He was a member of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, for 22 years, serving as chief of the Clinical Investigations Section, Gene Therapy and Therapeutics Branch, and as clinical director of the Intramural Research Program.

At present, he is a visiting scientist at the Department of Oral Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, in Charlotte, N.C., and an independent biomedical consultant focusing primarily in the area of clinical trial design and analysis. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine.

Contributing Author: Wilhemina Leeuw, MS, CDA

Wilhemina R. Leeuw, MS, CDA is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Dental Education at Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne, located in Fort Wayne, IN. A DANB Certified Dental Assistant since 1985, she worked in private practice over twelve years before beginning her teaching career. She received her Baccalaureate and Master's degrees in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from IPFW. She has authored for the American Dental Assistants Association and is currently serving as a CODA Accreditation site visitor. She is very active in her local and Indiana state dental assisting organizations. Her educational background includes dental assisting - both clinical and office management.


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:
Explain the epidemiology and etiology of xerostomia.
Understand the critical factors in the diagnosis of xerostomia.
Recognize the complaints associated with prescription medications and herbal preparations.
Examine the clinical assessment of xerostomia.
Recommend oral health care products associated with proper oral hygiene. 


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry. Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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