Oral Health in Neurological Disorders
Institution & Location
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry
Cameron Jeter, Ph.D. and David Fray, D.D.S., M.B.A.
Project Description/Potential Research Questions
1. Do dentists have accurate knowledge of the oral health concerns of patients with Parkinson’s disease and properly treat them? 2. Does use of a mobile app created for patients with Parkinson’s disease improve the oral hygiene of patients living in nursing facilities? 3. What psychological impact, if any, does physical restraint during a medical/dental procedure have on patients with intellectual or developmental delay? 4. What variables does the scientific literature use as measureable response to physical restraint during medical/dental procedures? 5. What policy concerning restraint should the American Association for Developmental Medicine and Dentistry recommend for use during medical/dental procedures on individuals with intellectual or developmental delay?
Expectations of Student (Rice University requirements are: The student must devote 10 hours per week to the project (consistent with a 3-credit course) and will develop a timeline of activities in collaboration with supervisor(s). The student will meet at least monthly with the faculty supervisor(s) to evaluate progress.
1. Literature search to become familiar with oral health concerns in neurological populations. 2. Use the literature to answer specific and brainstormed questions about oral health needs in neurological populations. 3. For questions unanswered by the scientific literature, propose projects that could answer them. 4. Ask dentists to complete a survey about oral health care of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Tabulate results and create a report. This will inform faculty of what education to provide. 5. Go to nursing facilities and visit with patients with Parkinson’s disease to understand their needs. Visit with nursing staff to understand their role.
Suggested Prerequisite Training or Experience
Helpful to have a background in health, neurobiology, psychology, or cognitive science. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, especially with those who have impaired cognition.
Expected Learning Outcomes
At the end of this project, students will know how to: 1. Describe the existing findings in the scientific literature on oral health care of patients with neurological disorders. 2. Communicate with patients with neurological disorders. 3. Enumerate the oral health concerns and needs of patients with neurological disorders. 4. Explain the process required to develop oral health policy and care.