Dental Pain in Care Homes: Is It a Phenomenon? A Systematic Review of the Literature
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Background: Evidence suggests that 80% of residents living in nursing homes have moderate to severe pain, could dental causes be an under reported contributory factor. The evidence suggests that this is an under-researched area. Our project aims were to explore and consolidate the current literature and conduct some stakeholder groups with care home managers and dentists. Our stakeholder group will be reported elsewhere. Methods: We used the SPIDER framework to set out key search terms. Which included “dementia” OR “cognitively-impaired” OR “carehome residents” AND “dental pain” OR “oralfacial pain” OR “mouth pain” AND “pain assessment” OR “pain identification”. A literature search was carried out on 8 and 9 March 2022 in the electronic databases: Cochrane, PubMed, Medline, Dental & Oral Sciences Source, CINAHL, Global Health, SocINDEX, Ovid (Medline) and Scopus. Restrictions were placed on dates and language (2012–2022 and English only). Results: The search yielded 775 papers up to the year 2020. After screening and exclusion, we were left with five papers: four quantitative and one qualitative. Conclusions: This review demonstrates that there has been very little research into oral health and/or dental pain in adults with dementia. Furthermore, the recommendations have yet to be taken forward. Identifying pain in older adults with dementia remains challenging. There is a need to develop an algorithm in conjunction with care home staff and dental practitioners in order to identify and address the pain associated with dental disease in adults with dementia.
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