No two denturists are the same. If you have been wearing dentures for a while, you know that no two sets of dentures are the same. Finding a quality, experienced denturist can seriously impact the comfort of your dentures. You do not have to deal with loose plates, gums that are rubbed raw, distorted speech, and the inability to eat your favorite foods. If you have any of these problems, there are a few things that you can try before replacing your dentures. Use what I have learned over my 15 years of wearing dentures to find a perfect fit and optimum comfort in your dentures.
As you (and your parents) get older, it's funny how certain roles can become reversed. When you were a young child, you needed your parents' help with even the most basic forms of self-care. When one of your parents develops dementia, it's now they who need your help. How can you ensure that your parent's dementia doesn't prevent them from receiving the best possible dental care?
The Best Dentist for the Job
There are a large number of dentists who specifically serve special needs patients. It might seem appropriate to use the services of such a dentist, but it may not be necessary in cases of mild (or even moderate) dementia. Your parent's existing dentist can be a better bet, as your parent is familiar with the dentist and their clinic. This can make treatment calmer and more efficient. You should consider taking responsibility for scheduling these appointments, along with reminding your parent and transporting them to the dental clinic.
At the dental clinic, be prepared to offer any relevant information as needed. You may be asked what medication your parent is on for their dementia, along with any recent changes to dosage. It's necessary to have this information available, which might require a conversation with your parent's physician. Any recent dietary changes should also be mentioned, and this can be especially significant if your parent has transitioned to a primarily soft food diet.
When Treatment Is Needed
Should any intervention be required (such as if a cavity is noted during an appointment), your parent's compliance could conceivably become an issue. If any necessary treatment should distress your parent, talk to their dentist about sedation. This is not to suggest that your parent will need a general anesthetic for the most basic forms of dental care, but mild sedation with a calmative effect can be highly-efficient.
At-Home Dental Care
Of course, the care your parent receives from a dentist is only part of the overall picture. You may need to step in at home to ensure that they're adequately cleaning their own teeth. In some cases, this can be as simple as reminding your parent to brush their teeth twice daily. You may also need to physically assist them. There's some trial and error involved, but handing (having your parent grip their toothbrush, while you place your hand on theirs and control movement of the brush) can be a good starting point. An ultrasonic toothbrush can also provide better results than a manual toothbrush.
Dementia may not have any direct effect on oral health, but the symptoms of the disease can lead to compromised oral health. This is why a parent affected by dementia can need some assistance from you to ensure that their teeth and gums remain as healthy as possible. Talk to a dentist for more information.