ADAA View Course

Geriatric Dentistry: Reviewing for the Present, Preparing for the Future (AGD 750)

Presenter: Natalie Kaweckyj, LDARF, CDA, CDPMA, COMSA, COA, MADAA, BA


The United States’ population is “graying” at a considerable rate. The US Census estimated that in 2013 there would be over 44.7 million Americans over the age of 65. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, it is estimated that by the year 2020, people 60 years of age and older will represent nearly 25% of the population base. Currently, there are an estimated 53,000 persons in the United States 100 years old or older, the largest number of them residing in California, New York, and Florida. Advances in health care technology along with the baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s has resulted in more individuals surviving into the eighth and ninth decades of life and beyond, resulting in a larger percentage of the population being elderly.

In addition to the medical advances that have enabled people to live longer and healthier lives, dental advances have resulted in the preservation of healthy dentition in these later years. Edentulousness and dentures are no longer the inevitable consequences of aging. In 1958, 65% of the older adult patients were edentulous and wore full dentures; in 1985 the percentage dropped down to 48%; although the percentage continues to steadily decrease, the increase in the population of elderly people will offset the decrease to some extent. With the increases in retention of natural dentition, more elderly patients are being seen in dental practices more regularly to maintain their oral health. The older adult patient frequently presents a variety of treatment dilemmas during dental care, and certain factors should be considered when rendering treatment.



Natalie currently resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she is the Clinic Coordinator and Compliance Analyst for a nonprofit pediatric dental clinic. She is a Licensed Dental Assistant in Restorative Functions (LDARF), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator (CDPMA), Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant (COMSA), Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA), and a Master of the American Dental Assistants Association. She holds several expanded function certificates, including the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia. Ms. Kaweckyj graduated from the American Dental Association-accredited dental assisting program at ConCorde Career Institute and has received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology from Metropolitan State University. She is currently writing her dissertation for her master’s in Public Health. She has worked clinically, administratively and academically. Ms. Kaweckyj is currently serving as on several ADAA Councils after having served on the ADAA Board of Trustees 2002 – 2012. She served as ADAA President in 2010-2011. She is the current Business Secretary and legislative chairman for the Minnesota Dental Assistants Association (MnDAA) and a three time past president of MnDAA. She also is a Past President of the Minnesota Educators of Dental Assistants (MEDA) and still an active member. In addition to her association duties, Natalie is very involved with the Minnesota state board of dentistry as well as with state legislature in the expansion of the dental assisting profession. She is a freelance writer and lecturer and is always working on some project. She has authored many other courses for the ADAA.


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Recognize the impact the older population will have on the dental field.
• Explain the need to assess each patient as an individual and not categorize by age.
• Describe aging as a lifelong process and explain the overall impact on integrated organs and systems.
• Explain the importance of obtaining a medical history update.
• Describe potential drug interactions with drugs used in the dental setting.
• Summarize the importance of proper attitudes and their effect on interactions between the dental team and the patient.
• Explain the correlation of certain medications and oral conditions.
• Identify treatment modification for various medical and physical conditions.
• Recite home care modification for various medical and physical conditions.
• List special considerations for the development of treatment plans for the older patient.
• Describe how to assist and manage a patient who is affected by tremors.
• Explain the need for premedication before treatment.
• Identify steps patients may take to help with xerostomia and oral cancer.
• Discuss approaches for managing the patient with Parkinson’s disease.
• Describe and explain the importance of good verbal and listening skills, and of providing written instructions for the patient to avoid errors of interpretation.


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.


If the participant has concerns about the presentation, please contact our Education Department at  If the participant has questions on how to view the presentation, please contact Tech Support at

To proceed with this course please click on the "Register" link.

You need to be logged in to register for a course. Please Click here to log in or create an account
Return to "My Courses"