Geriatric Dentistry – Being Old is NOT a Disease!
By Dr. Max Zaslavsky
Dentists can be quite discriminating on the patients they are willing to treat. A growing amount of seniors are in dire need of proper dental care but only few dentists are interested in taking care of this segment of our population. Some dentists do not discriminate but sadly, lack the proper skills and tools to properly address the dental needs of the elderly. Finding the right dentist for the care and dental needs of the elderly should not have to be hard to do. Knowing the dental needs of the elderly and doing a little bit of research in locating the right dentist for seniors, one who has training in geriatric dentistry, is the right step in getting the proper dental care for the elderly.
Hence the first proper step in choosing the right dentist for old people is to judge whether the dentist has the proper and needed skills and tools available to treat old people. You can also seek recommendations from people you know and see if they know a dentist who may be qualified at treating old people.
When you have found a potentially good dentist, make an appointment and come with questions. There are dentists who find no problem accommodating visits to assisted living facilities, houses or nursing homes since they know most elderly people live in these types of dwellings and that many old people have difficulty traveling or cannot travel at all. These dentists know that providing dental service to the elderly may necessitate exactly these kinds of situations.
For the elderly who are able to adequately care for their dental health, there are many ways in maintaining the health and strength of the teeth that can prevent them from needing to go to the dentist. Good healthy teeth is actually much more valuable for old people since they make eating a much easier activity to do. If they still have their own natural teeth, updated techniques for flossing and brushing can make their teeth cleaner and healthier. The elderly also need to be aware of the effects of their medications particularly its effects on their oral health.
A little research can come a long way in the proper dental care of the elderly. You need to ask the right questions to ascertain a dentist’s ability in giving proper and correct care for the aged. If they pass the criteria you are looking for and if you feel you can trust the dentist, then go for it. Also you need to know whether the dentist is fine with your senior’s insurance coverage and whether he/she does entertain house calls. Finding the right dentist for the elderly may take just a little effort on your part but the outcome will be worth your while.