Tips For Successfully Taking A Dementia Patient To The Dentist

Dentist Blog

If you're caring for a parent who has dementia, you'll likely oversee his or her frequent medical appointments. This list may include visiting doctors and specialists, but you shouldn't overlook regular dental appointments for your loved one as well. These appointments are especially critical because the dementia patient may not take the careful approach to brushing and overall dental care that he or she once did, and you don't want your family member to suffer unnecessary dental pain. Depending on the severity of the patient's dementia, there may be some challenges with taking him or her to the dentist. Here are some tips for succeeding.

Find The Right Dentist

While there's definitely value in having the patient continue to see his or her family dentist because of the familiarity factor, you may want to look around to see if there's a dental clinic that is better suited for caring for a dementia patient. For example, if a local clinic advertises that it specializes in treating those with such health conditions, this might be a good choice. Or, if you've heard about a clinic that has a good reputation for its overly friendly and patient staff, this clinic might be worth a visit.

Choose The Best Time

As you spend more time with your loved one, you'll become aware of what times of the day are good and bad for him or her. For example, the dementia patient could get more agitated as the day goes on. Make any necessary dental appointments with this in mind. If you've seen signs of the patient becoming less agreeable and more prone to getting upset toward the end of the day, this obviously won't be a good time to set the dental appointments. Instead, appointments in the morning could be easier for everyone.

Consider Frequent And Short Appointments

It's possible that the dementia patient will need various types of dental work, but having him or her sit in the dentist's chair for an hour or more could be highly problematic. You may want to think about scheduling frequent, short visits. This may take more time from you, but it can be easier. For example, instead of having the patient's whole mouth cleaned, you could schedule one appointment for cleaning the top teeth and another for cleaning the bottom teeth. The same idea holds true for dental procedures — one appointment to have one cavity filled instead of multiple, for example.

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