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Article: Volume 41 Number 5 Page 413 - June 2014

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  Dent Update 2014; 41: 413-422

Special Care Dentistry:  Dysphagia and Dentistry

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Abstract: Dysphagia is defined as a ‘difficulty in swallowing’ and is commonly found in the general population, particularly in the elderly. This article gives an overview of the more frequently encountered swallowing disorders and provides advice on how to manage the dysphagic patient in the dental surgery.

Clinical relevance: By identifying patients with dysphagia and being aware of the potential problems that the clinician may experience when treating them, the risk of aspiration, choking and healthcare-acquired upper respiratory tract infections may be reduced.

Author notes: Charlotte Curl, BDS(Hons), FDS RCS(Eng), DSCD, Senior Dental Officer, Dental Department, Hainault Health Centre, Manford Way, Chigwell, Essex IG7 4DF and Carole Boyle, BDS, MMedSci, FDS RCS, MFGDP, MSND RCSEd, Consultant in Special Care Dentistry, Department of Sedation and Special Care Dentistry, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation NHS Trust, Floor 26, Tower Wing, Guy’s Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK.

Objective: To understand the causes, manifestations and dental implications of dysphagia to enable the planning of treatment for patients with this condition.