A dental office can sometimes be impossible to navigate around in. And, sometimes, a dental office can be impossible to get to! Good news, however: did you know you can get your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist in the comfort of your own home — and more?
My grandmother knew she needed a new partial denture, but, even with four loving children to help her to my office, it was still a chore to get her into the wheelchair, down the makeshift ramp from the front door to the driveway, then out of the wheelchair into the car, then back into the wheelchair to my dental office, into the dental chair, etc, etc. So, instead, we brought the dentistry to her! My dental assistant took new impressions, then custom-made impressions with her in her favorite comfy chair. We then did the try-in, adjustments, and final insertion without having her to leave her living room. She was relieved that she didn’t have to be a burden on her children, and we were able to create just as good a lower partial for her!
Many dental procedures can be performed at home. These include:
1) Dental cleanings. We brush our patients’ teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste at the end!
2) Exams. These include oral cancer screenings with a portable screening device known as Velscope. http://www.velscope.com/
a) exams for seniors especially focus on dry mouth, since dry mouth causes so many problems from bad breath to an increase in cavities.
2) X-rays. This is done with a portable dental x-ray device known as a NOMAD. X-rays are taken at the home, then developed back at the office.
3) Simple extractions. Patients on blood thinners and/or high blood pressure medications would need a written permission note from their physician, but as long as a care-giver is with them at time of the appointment to take care of them when done, instruments can be brought to them!
4) Mouthguards. A lot of dementia medications cause patients to unnecessarily grind/clench their teeth. Impressions can be taken anywhere.
5) Complete and partial dentures. Impressions, try-ins, and adjustments can be done at home.
6) Denture and partial denture repairs. These can also be done at home. Sometimes the denture has to be repaired at a lab, but the denture is taken and brought back to the patient at home.
7) Implant-retained overdentures. The implants have to be done at a dental office, but their current denture can be retro-fitted to their new implant(s) at home.
Now the costs: Check out AARP’s PPO dental insurance for two excellent choices, no matter what your state!
Check out: http://www.continuityofcare.org/
To see a list of caregivers that have mobile dentists on their referral lists. Or, simply ask their current dentist if they are willing to make housecalls!
Bottom line: your loved ones never have to feel like burdens to make what would normally be simple dental appointments ever again!