Caregivers and The Dentist - Keeping Up With Your Loved Ones Oral Needs
Keeping up with a loved one with Alzheimer’s oral care can often seem like a challenge. Fortunately, working with a good dentist can make the process a lot easier. I’ve worked in dentistry for 20 years, and have seen firsthand the difference a dentist can make in a patient’s life. I’m here today to share some of that experience, and hopefully, make the process easier for you and your loved one.
Find The Right Dentist
Firstly, it’s important to make sure you’re visiting the right dentist. There are a lot of things that might qualify as “right” as some of these items might be more important to certain individuals than others. Here are a couple of key things to consider.
Does the dentist have any experience working with patients that have Alzheimer's? If they do, it’s a good sign and likely to be a better fit in dealing with the patient.
Any special training is also considered a plus. This could be directly related to Alzheimer's or it could simply be a specialization in elder oral care. Either of these, as well as others, are likely to make the experience easier.
Many patients with Alzheimer's are not keen on traveling, so a dentist that is close is a big win. In some cases, you may even be able to hire a traveling dentist that can perform routine procedures at home.
It’s also important to make sure that you open a dialogue with your dentist. They likely have a lot of valuable experience and can help make sure you’re providing the best care possible. Whenever you’re in doubt, never feel afraid to question them. Using them as a resource for questions is just another reason why working with a good dentist is so important.
Keep Up With At Home Care
It’s also important to make sure that they keep up with their care at home. While going to the dentist is important, having good home care is essential to keeping oral health in check.
The key here is to make sure the patient is staying consistent with their brushing and flossing. This is, unfortunately, more difficult than it sounds. Patients with Alzheimer’s frequently forget to brush or floss, and this can lead to oral issues very quickly.
For most caregivers, the important thing to do is to be patient and help them along. In some cases, a simple reminder is all that’s needed that it’s time to brush. In other cases, you may need to demonstrate or provide simple instructions throughout the process.
In more advanced stages, you may even have to brush and floss for them. You want to make sure you do so gently, and never try to force it. Being too aggressive can easily cause damage to the fragile gum tissue. In these cases where the individual is uncooperative, it’s best to simply stop and try again later.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to work with your dentist. Good oral care will certainly improve the quality of life of your loved one, so make sure to keep it on the top of your priorities list.
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