Chris Salierno, DDS

The senior patient opportunity

March 1, 2020
The senior population is growing faster than ever before. DE’s Chief Editor Dr. Chris Salierno addresses this change and explains how it can be a big positive for your dental practice.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Dental Officer, Tend

Americans are getting older. Thanks to advances in medical care that help people live longer and, of course, the baby boomers entering their 60s and 70s, there will be more seniors than ever before. Currently, only 15% of the US population is over age 65; by 2030 it is estimated to be 21%.1 The US Census Bureau also predicts that in 2034, for the first time ever, adults over age 65 will outnumber children.1 I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for our practices to provide care for the growing senior population. So where do we begin?

First, we should consider what patients age 65 and over want from their dental appointments. What are the reasons they may be avoiding regular care? What oral health problems do we see in this population? Once you’ve come up with a list of common needs and wants, you can start to see how your practice can create a unique offering that will set you apart from other practices.

For example, you might recognize that patients over 65 are typically retired and thus have no third-party payer coverage. A recall exam that once cost them $20 out of pocket is now $250. How do you think you could help ease that financial burden? You might also notice that seniors are generally at higher risk for caries. They feel frustrated when, after years of uneventful checkups, they’re now being told about a new cavity seemingly at every visit. What preventive and restorative materials could you bring into your practice that could address this? Do your best to see your office from their perspective, and then you can rise to meet their specific needs.

Now that we have something unique to talk about, it’s time to get the word out. What media channels in your community would be ideal for reaching this population? And when you get their attention, what will you say to let them know your practice is uniquely positioned to serve their needs?

The senior population is growing quickly; very quickly, in fact. Rather than just passively watch as they shuffle through our doors, we should actively recruit them and roll out the red carpet. We should figure out how we can best serve their economic, clinical, and emotional needs instead of just treating them as regular patients who are just older. The senior patient opportunity is growing ... will your practice seize it?


1. Vespa J. The graying of America: More older adults than kids by 2035. The US joins other countries with large aging populations. United States Census Bureau website. Published March 13, 2018. Updated October 8, 2019.


Chris Salierno, DDS

[email protected]

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Whitepaper: The Blueprint for Practice Growth

With just a few changes, you can significantly boost revenue and grow your practice. In this white paper, Dr. Katz covers: Establishing consistent diagnosis protocols, Addressing...