Parkinson's disease – The dentist's role as part of the healthcare team

Liliana Ortiz Camacho, Leila Jahangiri, Jenna Iseringhausen, Gary R. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that results in patients exhibiting uncontrolled movements, changes in saliva production, and difficulty in swallowing and speech. Understanding the staging of the disease and the available therapies allows dentists to treat these patients safely and with compassion to meet their oral health care needs for an optimal quality of life. This appraisal discusses Parkinson's disease as it relates to clinically relevant facts to manage and treat the oral health care needs of these patients in the short and long term including general dental care recommendations. Important observations related to Parkinson's disease include disease causation,; stages, pharmacologic treatment, the effects on saliva, mastication, dysphagia, and aspiration pneumonia. Dental recommendations are made for the dentate, the partially edentulous, and the completely edentulous Parkinson's patients with a focus on late-stage concerns. Optimizing dental health will help maintain the quality of life as the disease progresses. In late stages of Parkinson's disease, dental treatment should focus on keeping the patient comfortable and out of pain. While benign neglect is an often-used term, compassionate therapy in the late stages of Parkinson's disease is a more compelling term for defining the patient's needs. Since dysphagia in Parkinson's patients has been underdiagnosed, neurologists must be aware of the important part that dentists play in the early diagnosis for these patients. Early referral to a dentist is vital to mitigate the unfortunate consequence of the need for extensive dental care in late-stage patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Prosthodontics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • dentistry
  • drooling
  • dysphagia
  • Parkison's disease
  • sialorrhea
  • xerostomia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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