jbist Asked June 2012

Should I sign my dad up to be seen by a dentist who comes to his Memory Care Assisted Living Facility?

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My dad is 87 and in a wheelchair. It would be extremely difficult for me to take him to a dental office, but he has always had regular dental care until he moved to his Memory Care Facility a year ago. Now they are providing in-house dental care from a visiting dentist. My dad has dental insurance, so I can file the claim with them. I'm assuming that dental care is important for him, even at his age.

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I found the services provided by the places my mother was to be a huge help. It relieved me of the chore of leaving work, taking her, bringing her back and getting back to work (which was 45 minutes from where she was). I would absolutely take advantage of anything that made it easier on me. How bad can the care be? If it turns out he needs something serious done then of course you can take him to his usual doctor. However, the caretakers are skilled in getting the patients to cooperate with "strange" doctors, so go for it! Do what makes your life easiest while still taking care of them. Podiatrist and hair dresser were two services they often provided for my mom and I really appreciated it.
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chimonger Jun 2012
A "house call" dentist can help elders in facilities with: cleanings, even some fillings, denture repairs and relines, etc.--all good stuff!
When someone has a toothache, or their dnetures do not fit right, they cannot eat very well. Elders are constantly watched to make sure they have adequate intake of food. Maintenance dental care can really help that.
As FL is "God's Waiting Room", I am surprised facilities there have been obstructive of having visiting dental care!
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Equinox Jun 2012
My mom is at NH. She gets teeth cleaned by the university of dental school students that are training in training . They look much cleaner. And she is eating and tasting foods better.
equinox
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PunchNJudy Jun 2012
I am trying to figure out how a dentist can actually practice dentistry outside of an office, unless he has a set-up in the facility to which he is traveling, to do more than a basic check up and cleaning. But let's say he has a bona fide and effective venue set up to perform the procedures in-house at your dad's nursing home. To me, this would be a blessing for my dad to have his teeth properly cared for, particularly at his advanced age, in the comfort of familiar surroundings. If he is a caring and well-qualified dentist (I'm sure the nursing home would see to that!) I would have a chat with my dad and broach the subject with a positive statement, e.g., "Dad-great news! you can get your teeth taken care of right here by Dr. so and so..." It would only take a few positive comments from other residents to help reinforce the doctor's expertise. Good luck!
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jeannegibbs Jun 2012
lesliex, hear, hear!
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lesliex Jun 2012
Your Dad is so fortunate to have this opportunity - many Assisted Living residences do not offer this important care.
YES! - Preventive care such as cleanings will keep your Dad from cavities and pain later. Dementia patients are less likely to clean their mouths well. And often cannot verbalize their dental pain. Food tastes better, and you will be preventing the bacteria that accumulates in his mouth from entering his blood stream and causing other complications. Gum disease really affects the heart and blood sugar.

Did I mention that I am a Dental Hygienist? At one time I provided care in nursing homes and Assisted Living facilities, but since moving to Florida I cannot get a facility to let me provide care.

Regulations at all facilities should provide for regular, accessable oral health care!
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jeannegibbs Jun 2012
I assume a dentist willing to do house calls at a memory care unit is going to be gentle, be cautious with use of any drugs, and be conservative in his or her treatments. I think I'd sign up for it, and then play it by ear. I would not insist on it over Dad's objections, and I'd think carefully about any procedures recommended, but preventative dental care can make sense, even for those with moderate dementia.

Good luck ... and if you do it, come back and let us know how it goes.
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IsntEasy Jun 2012
For me, it would depend upon how he might react to having a new dentist doing an exam. If that would be a troubling experience for him, I'd forgo it unless he's experiencing a toothache that needs to be treated.
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