Dental care

Dental care for seniors involves unique considerations. Seniors are more likely to suffer from a host of oral health issues resulting from the natural aging process. Proper oral health care is critical, yet, coverage is not provided by Medicare. If your senior loved one is a low income senior, options are available.

Beware of such diseases and oral problems such as:

  • root caries
  • attrition, such as grinding of teeth causing the wearing of tooth enamel
  • gum or Periodontal disease
  • missing teeth because of earlier neglect; or having few or no teeth in the mouth which is the final marker of disease burden (edentulism)
  • poor quality of alveolar ridges
  • ill-fitting dentures
  • mucosal lesions
  • oral ulceration or dry mouth (xerostomia), oral cancers, and rampant caries happen, especially when taking certain medications

Services

Be aware that denture wearers need as much care as anyone else who has their own teeth. A dentist can perform an oral cancer screening for  your loved one and may find other diseases that you wouldn’t think would stem from the oral cavity.

Good oral hygiene improves quality of living which permits successful aging to occur. When the elderly already have heart disease, diabetes, and other vascular diseases, they are at a higher risk for gum disease.

Preparation

  • Know your parents prior dental history.
  • Its helpful to have possession of their dental records.
  • When was the last dental visit, and the reason for the visit?
  • Will you be the person responsible for signing for consent of services?
  • If other financial options need to be considered, contact the Dental Society in your County/State or the National Council on Aging.

Evaluation

  • Is the dentist accepting new patients?
  • Does the dentist treat patients with special conditions? (Alzheimer’s/Dementia)
  • Does the dentist offer the latest in dental technology?
  • Is the office wheel chair accessible?
  • Please provide references.
  • Does the dentist have a specialization in treating seniors?

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