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Geriatric Dentistry: Before You Call 911

Course Number: 586


ADA – American Dental Association

ASA – Aspirin

allergic reactions – Condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance.

Alzheimer’s disease – Progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the neurons.

antibiotic prophylaxis – The prescription of an antibiotic prior to certain types of dental procedures for the prevention of infection for individuals who have a medical history that warrants such coverage.

apraxia – Inability to perform particular motor purposive actions, as a result of brain damage.1

arthritis – Painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints.

asthmatic attack – Sudden worsening of breathing caused by the tightening of muscles around airways.

baby boomers – People born during the demographic post–World War II period (between the years 1946 and 1964).

CAB – Circulation, airway, breathing

cardiac arrest – Sudden, sometimes temporary, cessation of heart function.

cirrhosis – Disease of the liver marked by degeneration of cells, inflammation, and fibrous thickening of tissue.2

congestive heart failure – Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, with failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency.

COVID-19 - The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the infectious disease known as coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The virus typically causes mild to moderate respiratory illness in most infected individuals, and it is spread through coughing, sneezing, speaking, singing, or breathing through an infected individual.

CPR – Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

DHCP- Dental Healthcare Personnel

diabetes mellitus – Chronic disease associated with abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood.

eczema – Patches of skin become rough and inflamed, with blisters that cause itching and bleeding.3

edentulous – Lacking teeth; toothless.

EMS – Emergency medical services.

etiologies – Cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition.

gait – Individual’s manner of walking.

gingival recession – Exposure of the roots of the teeth caused by a loss of gum tissue.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma – Cancer of the lymphatic system.4

hypercapnia – Excessive carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, typically caused by inadequate respiration.

hypertension – Abnormally high blood pressure (Persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg).5

hypoglycemia – Deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream.

INR (International Normalized Ratio) – The prothrombin time (PT) and its derived measures of prothrombin ratio (PR) and INR are measures of the extrinsic pathway of coagulation. (Normal range is between 2-3 for those on anticoagulant therapy). 6

keratinization – Process in which the cytoplasm of the outermost cells of the mammalian epidermis is replaced by keratin.

O2 – Oxygen.

orthostatic hypotension – Decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg within three minutes of standing when compared with blood pressure from the sitting or supine position.7

osteoporosis - Condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue.

Parkinson’s disease - Chronic nervous disease characterized by a fine, slowly spreading tremor, muscular weakness and rigidity, and a peculiar gait.

periodontium - Specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth, comprised of cementum, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

prosthesis - An artificial device that replaces a missing body part. (i.e., partial or full dentures, dental implants etc.)8

psoriasis - Skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches.9

renal failure - Condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids.

stroke - Damage to the brain from interruption of its blood supply.

syncope - Temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure.

vitals – Clinical measurements, specifically pulse rate, temperature, respiration rate, and blood pressure that indicate the state of a patient’s essential body functions.

WW I & II – World War 1 and 2.

xerostomia – Condition in which the mouth is unusually dry.10

911 – In North America including Canada, the 911 system was designed to provide a universal, easy-to-remember number for people to reach police, fire or emergency medical assistance from any phone in any location, without having to look up specific phone numbers.