March 2023 featured dentist: Dr. Terry Grant

March featured dentist: Dr. Terry Grant

Dentistry33 recognizes Dr. Terry Grant as our featured dentist for March. He is passionate about helping elderly patients and enthusiastic about supporting dental hygienists.

Over the last six months, Dr. Terry Grant has provided lectures on the new world of geriatric dentistry at conventions including the Greater New York Dental Meeting and the National Mobile & Teledentistry Conference. In his talks, he discusses topics including new trends in clinical techniques of dental management for medically and mentally compromised geriatric patients.

Grant, his administrative staff and dental hygienist have a practice encompassing geriatric, cosmetic and general dentistry in Garden City on Long Island, New York. He also leads a traveling dental team, Gentle Dental LI House Calls, providing services to people who may be homebound or reside at an assisted living facility, nursing home or a rehabilitation facility. Grant is a diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry and president of the New York chapter of the American Society of Geriatric Dentistry. Learn more about his background and numerous accolades he's received on LinkedIn.

When we spoke with him, he described numerous mentors who have influenced his journey, including Dr. Raymond Gant and the late Dr. Saul Kamen in Washington, D.C.  

Grant said one of the most pressing issues in geriatric dentistry is recognizing comorbidities.

"The elderly population has multiple medical conditions that a general dentist may not be able to create a treatment plan for," he said during an interview. "There are a lot of dentists that can treat the elderly but those elderly that have cognitive impairments and comorbidities, that population needs a little extra education to get that population taken care of."

Grant said that by 2060, one-quarter of the people in America will be over age 65.

"That's a large segment of the population and we need to have dentists capable and prepared to take care of that segment of the population," he said.  

Years ago, being edentulous or having no teeth was common over the age of 75, Grant said. "But it's not common anymore," he added. "So, monitoring periodontal disease in relationship to a medical condition and oral health, is very important."

Many people don't understand how someone who has gum disease could ultimately be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease as a result. But it's not as if public health officials haven't talked about it for years. Grant mentioned former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who talked about the importance of oral health when he served under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989.

Grant is a big fan of dental hygienists, who he describes as key to helping improve oral health and prevention for the elderly. Dental hygienists have the responsibility of going into homes to take care of this patient population, he said.

Dental hygienists play a very significant role in geriatric dentistry, Grant said.

"They're just as knowledgeable as a dentist in most cases," he said. "In some spaces, they're limited in what they can do but their knowledge base is still the same. With the geriatric population, we need more hands on than ever today to take care of this population of people, especially at the rapidly growing rate that's apparent in America and Canada." Grant's research includes work in Canada and the U.S.

"The more knowledgeable health care providers are with this patient population, the better off we are as a country," he said.

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