I just noticed some black spots on a few of my dad’s teeth near the gum line. I’m guessing this is from years of not going to see a dentist.

I feel awful that I didn’t see them before. I’ve been in charge of his care since February. Luckily he isn’t in any pain.

I’m looking for advice or info on how he can get dental care while in a wheelchair. He needs a two person assist to get in the dentist chair and the staff at the dentist office can’t help me move him. I can’t pick him up on my own. Anyone else ever dealt with this? Wondering if they could clean his teeth in his wheelchair chair or do I need to scramble to find someone to come help me lift him?

Also any advice on cavities and dental work for someone with advanced Alzheimer’s is helpful too.

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The main issue is whether you think your father would cooperate with the dentist/hygienist.

If so, you should call around to all local dentists to see who is willing and able to work on such a patient preferably in the wheelchair. Otherwise you will need to get permission to bring your own 2 people to get him in and out of the chair (this is a liability issue for the practice). If so, can your father put his head back and keep his mouth open for work? Will he comply with the use of anesthetics? Or endure the discomfort?

In my state no dentist will work on a new patient without a complete exam, teeth cleaning and full set of xrays. What will your dad's insurance cover, if anything? Dental work is very expensive. Please do not attempt to pay for it yourself. You may need to come to accept a bare minimum of dental work for him, if any...not because he doesn't deserve it, but because it just won't be possible.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Geaton777
Courage726 Dec 29, 2021
Luckily we have good dental insurance for him that will cover preventive care and fillings.
He can open his mouth and move his head back. He also is pretty cooperative.
This first visit is for the cleaning, X-rays and exam. I will try to stay in the room with him to make him feel better and know he is safe.
I just don’t want him to end up with an infection/abscess
Another thought. If you are able to get him into the Dental chair, remember - they recline at an odd angle with a hump in the center. Would he be able to lay back & bend his legs to do so? I went to the Dentist last year for an emergency while healing from two broken knees & wasn't able to sit in the recline chair properly. I had to dangle one leg at an awkward angle & almost sat sideways while straddling the chair. Wound up with both legs on the side of it, like on a horse. Very embarrassing. So, make sure you take the "bendability" of his knees into consideration.
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Reply to LavenderBear

My aunt was examined and treated by a “visiting dentist” in her AL.

I Stated that I wanted functional attention ONLY, and although the end result was rather unsightly she was able to eat a typical diet for some time, until she was placed on puréed foods for other reasons.
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Reply to AnnReid

The American Dental Association has an online chat. They will find a local dentist for you; I would run this question by them.
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Reply to Moxies

I don't know if this is even possible (especially in these times) but you might try contacting your local nursing homes to find out how they get their dental services. If you contact the providers directly you may be able to negotiate with them and the NH to have your father seen there.
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Reply to cwillie
Geaton777 Dec 29, 2021
Cwillie, at my MIL's facility they use a mobile dentist who comes in a giant RV and then performs the work inside the facility while residents stay in their wheelchairs. They have a set-up where they can tip their chairs slightly backwards to perform the work. They really are reluctant to do much repair for those with cognitive issues because of lack of tolerance and cooperation. They did fill a few of MIL's cavities and smoothed out a broken tooth.

My 99-yr old aunt in FL (with mod/adv dementia) has teeth that are now in bad repair. He chose to file them completely down (all her bottom fronts). I wasn't there to authorize this solution as I'm not sure what the options were. She would not have been a cooperative patient. It looks terrible but she can still eat most things and has no pain.
Call dentist office ask if they can work on him in the chair.
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Reply to Clsue63

Hopefully the AL has a visiting dentist. If connected with a NH, they should.

Some Als have aides that can be hired per hour for appointments. He would need to travel via wheelchair taxi & aides drive separately, meet him there & stay to do transfers & assist. Possible... maybe... but unless they know him well, could be just too risky/too hard.
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Reply to Beatty

Talk to the dentist. He may benefit from taking a mild anti-anxiety medication about an hour before his appointment - his dentist can prescribe this. Also let them know that he uses a wheelchair and how many people it takes to help him move from wheelchair to bed/chair/toilet. They can arrange to have enough people on hand to help him with the transfer. If you have a "gait belt" it would help them to have something solid to hang onto when helping to transfer him in and out of his wheelchair.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Taarna

Courage726: In today's medical and dental advances, most doctors of dental science should be able to accommodate a patient who is wheelchair bound.
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Reply to Llamalover47

American Disabilities Act require dentists to provide services to the disabled.
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Reply to kahill1918

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