How do you strike the perfect balance between getting the patient good dental care without inflicting them with an over zealous, dental treatment plan?
Some dentists can get very free with their recommendations for various treatments, procedures, etc. I want my cousin, who is 63, with Vascular Dementia mixed with Altzheimers, in Secure Memory Unit, Severe Dementia Stage 6 to be comfortable, but not overly treated with dental procedures.
She has lost most mobility and is wheelchair bound, but still is verbal and feeds herself. She's had a lot of health crisis with falls and we've been focusing so much on her medical issues, that we haven't addressed her dental. Now it's time.
She has never had good dental hygiene, so I can't imagine what condition her teeth are in. She has them all with maybe 3 fillings from childhood. None appear to be bad. She doesn't complain of any tooth or gum pain, her gums don't bleed and she eats without issue. Still, I know she needs to see the dentist. She hasn't gone in years. Her dementia progressed in May of this year and she's been in assisted living since June.
I fear the dentist will say she needs to have them all pulled and get dentures. I have talked to enough people with dentures to know it's not that simple. I don't want to create another thing for her to deal with. I also don't see the point of having her sit in a dentist chair twice a week for the next 6 months getting elaborate work done.
What should I do? Should I wait to see if she complains of a problem and then just pull the offending tooth?
Is there a such thing as palliative dental care?
She's on medicaid, so the costs is not an issue. I just want her comfortable for what time she has left.