My mom usually gets visited by the dental hygienist every 3 months to have her teeth cleaned. However, with the Covid lockdown, her memory care isn't allowing her hygienist to visit. Is this standard protocol? I understand not allowing the hair stylist, but feel like keeping mom's teeth clean is a medical and essential need.

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My niece is a dental hygienist and she says they are masking up for major surgery each and every day. She is single with 2 kids to support and will not take any risks--just going to work each day is anxiety producing for her.

If it is simply a routine cleaning, no, they will not come into a 'locked down' facility.

If it is major work, such as an abscessed tooth or broken tooth or something fairly serious, niece says the pts family has to come up with a way to get them to the office. (this is THEIR office's policy)

For one thing--the equipment alone cannot be transported.

If you KNOW a hygienist who is willing to come and simply scrape the tartar and maybe hand brush mom's teeth, you'd be lucky.

A mobile dentist is probably the only way you can get mom's dental needs met--and I bet it's really expensive.

I agree with lealonnie--this isn't that necessary. (A cleaning)
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While in MC, my wife, while having lunch, handed me something and asked "What's this?". It happened to be one of her caps. Not good, I thought. We'll have to see a dentist. There was a dental facility across the parking lot from MC. I made an appt. and told them she had Alzheimer's. The dentists were very accomodating and pleasant. The first dentist said she would have to have a root canal. I said, "no way!", she couldn't tolerate that. He said they could do it under sedation. I relented and a follow up appt was made with an endodontist. He said because of her AD he couldn't put her under sedation. That would likely cause delirium and other complications. He said our options were typical novacaine or do nothing and wait and see if any complications develop. I chose the latter option and luckily no pain or infections until she finally died 12 months later.

I'm recounting this just to let you know that any dental work other than routine cleaning could pose a significant problem that you need to be aware of. Dental care is essential, especially daily brushing, to stave off any bacterial infections that could get into the bloodstream.
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Any dental care outside of necessary extractions is too traumatic for my mother to endure, especially now in Memory Care. She's so OCD and anxiety ridden on a good day, that requiring her to have frequent cleanings sounds like a nightmare to me. At these advanced ages, leave them alone, that's my opinion.

In any event, the mobile dentist did come in last week to pull my mother's WISDOM tooth in Memory Care, if you can believe that she still has them in her mouth at 93.5 years old. She had to take a Xanax in order to be seen, and then have novocaine, naturally, and then she promptly went to bed for TWO DAYS afterward to 'recover' from the ordeal. It's now 11 days later and she's still carrying on about the trauma of the whole incident. Not to mention the $888 it cost her (but that she is blessedly unaware of). If she winds up with a dry socket, she'll be spending a few thousand dollars to treat a wisdom tooth in Memory Care.

So, my philosophy is 'less is more'. Only call on the mobile dentist on an emergency basis and leave well enough alone. Seems the more 'outside help' I try to get for my mother, the worse off she is.
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Dear Roseformom,
I am in the same boat. My mom is 95 with Alzheimer's related dementia and is now in memory care after getting COVID in April.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, I had tried the mobile dentist route but, decided since she was still mobile at that time to go ahead and take her to our longtime family dentist since he knew her teeth and mouth so well. I would take her every four months because she had Periodontal Disease that requires special cleanings and more frequently.
I was going to go back to trying the mobile dentist but, with the lockdown I knew that wasn't going to happen. I know both you and I see it as a medical and essential need but, I don't think the facilities do. They want as few people as possible coming in from the outside. At her previous AL facility, her mobile doctor's nurse practitioner wasn't even allowed in to see my mom when she was near death due to severe dehydration and having contracted the COVID virus and it doesn't get any worse than that! She had to do a virtual visit. I've told her new facility that I want her teeth brushed twice a day - morning and at bedtime instead of just at bedtime.
I plan on calling our dentist Monday and asking what, if anything else, can be done and see if he has any recommendations. Good luck!
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Roseformom Jul 2020
Thank you for responding! It's good to know this is normal for memory care. Please let me know the outcome of what the dentist says and when her memory care allows the dentist and/or hygienist. Thanks again!
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