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Linda C. Niessen Geriatric Dentistry Symposium

Removing Aging Barriers in Patient Care

Course Summary:

Dr. PaunovichAdvances in health care and the aging “baby boomers” have resulted in an unprecedented growth in the number of old adults. It is estimated that the population of 65 years and over will practically double by the year 2005 and 2030 resulting in 20% of the population being 65 years and older in our population. This means that 1 in 5 patients in our dental practices will be 65 or older! While this growing population of older adults’ remains healthy and active, aging does present challenges to health care providers such as multiple chronic medical problems, multiple medications, functional limitations as well as cognitive impairments. Many of these issues associated with aging may present barriers to access to care in dental practices.

This session will identify some of the age-related physical changes, medical, functional, and cognitive changes that many of the more prevalent medical conditions that may challenge the oral health of aging adults. The oral health care team will become aware of ways to ensure that their practice provides a safe, appropriate and comfortable care to their older patient. Understanding the age related changes with the management of multiple chronic conditions will improve the strategies we can apply in preventing disease as well as providing care to older adult dental patient.

Following completion of this course, the participant should have a better understanding and working knowledge of:

  • Age-related physical, oral and cognitive changes
  • Clinical signs and symptoms as well as medical management of some of the more prevalent chronic medical conditions associated with older adults to include cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, endocrine, gastrointestinal and renal disorders.
  • Dental management considerations for functional, behavioral and cognitive changes associated with some of the more common neuromuscular degenerative disorders to include the patient with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and the stroke patient
  • Strategies and treatment planning for managing the older patient with cognitive disorders
  • Preventive and restorative approaches in managing caries and periodontal disease in medically challenged older adults

Course Pre-Requisites: Interest in Geriatric Dentistry- course is for dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists, and care-takers.

Course Information:

  •  9:45 - 10:15 - Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 10:15 - 10:30 - Welcome -
  • 10:30 - 11:45 - Keynote Lecture - Dr Eleonore Paunovich
  • 11:45 - 12:00 - Break
  • 12:00-1:15 - Con't Program
  • 1:15 - 2:15 - LUNCH
  • 2:15 - 3:30 - Con't Program
  • 3:30 - 3:45 - Break
  • 3:45-5:00 - Con't Program
  • 5:00 - Adjourn

Continental breakfast/Late Morning refreshments.

Join us

Linda C. NiessenLinda C. Niessen DMD, MPH, MPP

This Symposium has been named in the honor of Dr. Linda Niessen for her contributions to the dental profession with special contributions to the field of geriatric dentistry.

Dr. Linda C. Niessen currently serves as Dean, Nova Southeastern University. College of Dental Medicine. Prior to her newly appointed Dean position, she served as Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Dentsply International and clinical professor in the department of restorative sciences at the Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. She has provided geriatric dental care to veterans on staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dallas.

Throughout her career, Dr. Niessen has been active in professional dental organizations, having served as president of the American Association of Women Dentists, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the American Board of Dental Public Health (the certifying board for the specialty of public health dentistry), and the Dallas County Dental Society. Currently she is President-elect of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, and serves on the Board of Regents of the American College of Dentists and Board of Directors for Oral Health America. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and American Board of Special Care Dentistry.

A noted lecturer, writer, and public health advocate, Dr. Niessen has authored a textbook on geriatric dentistry titled Geriatric Dentistry: Aging and Oral Health, and is author or co-author of more than 60 scientific articles in peer-reviewed publications. She has received numerous awards, including the American Dental Association’s Dental Health Award for her work on providing dental care to people with Alzheimer’s disease; the Jack Hein Award for Public Service from the American Association of Dental Research; and the Pierre Fauchard Academy Gold Medal to name a few. During her tenure as Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry, she initiated graduate education programs in dental public health and geriatric dental care as part of the Baylor partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Dr. Niessen has served as a spokesperson for the American Dental Association and has hosted “Dental Health Check,” a weekly dental news report originating from WFAA-TV (Dallas’s ABC affiliate).

Dr. Niessen is a graduate of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and received her MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives with her husband in Dallas, Texas and they have two sons: one, an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon practicing in California; the second son, a dentist, pursing an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at UMKC in Kansas City, Missouri.

Course Presenters:

Dr. PaunovichEleonore Paunovich, DDS, MS

Dr. Paunovich serves as the Director, Oral Health Clinical Programs for Geriatrics and Special Care Patients at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, she holds an appointment as Clinical Professor in Geriatric Dentistry, in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

She is a graduate of Indiana University School of Dentistry, with post-doctoral training in Dental Radiology and Oral Medicine and completion of a Gerontology and Geriatric Dentistry Fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

She has served as the Dental Radiology Consultant to the Assistant Surgeon General for the Air Force Dental Corps and its training programs, and currently serves as the Dental Imaging Consultant for the Veterans Affairs Office of Dentistry.

Dr. Paunovich has over 30 years of active clinical experience providing comprehensive dentistry to patients with special needs. She has provided didactic and clinical faculty support for pre-doctoral as well as post-doctoral dental residencies in the Veterans Health Care System, United States Air Force, United States Army and dental schools throughout the country.

Dr. Paunovich serves as clinical program director for the Geriatric Dentistry Fellowship in the Department of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She is a Fellow in the American Society of Geriatric Dentistry as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care in Dentistry.

Helena Tapias-Perdigon D.D.S., MS

Dr. TapiasDr. Tapias-PerdigonDr Helena Tapias-Perdigon currently is Assistant Professor for Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry- Department of Restorative Sciences, since 2008. In addition to being a clinical professor, she is pursuing research in Geriatrics. She earned her DDS degree at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1994 and she received her Master Degree in Geriatric Dentistry from the Oral Health Services for Older Adults Program, MS, University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry in 2007.

She is an active member of the Special Care in Dentistry Association and International Geriatric Oral Research Group. She serves as secretary for the Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education Group from the American Dental Education Association. She is part of the National Faculty Advisor Committee for the Hispanic Dental Association and she is a Board Member of the North Texas Hispanic Dental Association.

Dr. Tapias was invited speaker during the last Southwest Dental Conference in areas of her field (Geriatric Dentistry) as well as invited lecturer during IADR conferences in previous years.

She is the planner and creator of the Linda C. Niessen Geriatrics Symposium with the only vision of promoting Geriatric Dentistry training in annual basis, for Faculty Members, Dentists, Hygienists and Dental/Hygiene Students, fostering the best oral care for the senior population in our community.


TAMBCD Office of CE Registration Information, Certifications & Cancellation/Refund policy:

Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. QUESTIONS: Please feel free to call us at 1-214-828-8238. For quickly response please email your questions through the online registration website

ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at www.ada.org/cerp. Continuing education credits issued for participation in the CE activity may not apply toward license renewal in all states/provinces. It is the responsibility of each participant to verify the requirements of his/her state/provincial licensing board(s).

CONFIRMATIONS: Will be sent by e-mail to the official email address provided by the attendee to the registration website. Exact email is necessary

REGISTRATION CANCELLATION:Tuition is refundable if a course is canceled by the Office of CE. A $50 fee will be assessed for any course cancellation. All payments by check or cash are deposited into the Texas A&M account and CANNOT be refunded. “No Shows” for a course forfeit all tuition. Confirm notification of cancellation by e-mail.The CE Office cannot be held responsible for a non-refundable airline ticket.

Have questions about 43rd Annual Arthur H. Merritt Memorial Lectureship? Contact Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.

Last edited by: aupton 05/11/2015

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