Nearly 65% of American adults take at least one visit to the dentist every year. To get that percentage even higher next year, we’ve got to treat all of our patients with the utmost care and professionalism.
Granted, this is more challenging with certain patients, particularly the elderly. Treat an older patient certainly comes with unique difficulties, but we’re here to help. Below, we’re going to give you some great tips for improving your senior dental care.
Check for Age-Specific Health Complications
Maintaining the oral health of a senior is tricky. They’re much more prone to various health conditions such as xerostomia, periodontitis, and increased sensitivity to prescription drugs.
You can learn more about other dental issues that seniors may face by checking out this blog post on the aging mouth.
So when treating an elderly patient, you want to monitor and account for these things when drawing up an oral health plan for them. Particularly when it comes to giving them pain medication, you want to get a full picture of the different drugs they take first before giving them anything.
We don’t have to tell you that vision and hearing worsen with age. But with some elderly folks, it can be a huge obstacle when it comes to keeping them in the loop about what you’re doing for them and to them.
We suggest that you speak much louder and slower when communicating with elderly patients. Just make sure you aren’t doing it in such a way that is patronizing them in any way. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re mocking them.
You should also remove any surgical masks you’re wearing so that your voice isn’t muffled at all. Your dentist office should be as welcoming and communicative as possible.
Simplify Post-op Care Instructions
Your elderly patients might also have early symptoms of degenerative brain conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. So their memories will likely be wishy-washy at best.
If you’re planning on giving home-care instructions to your elderly patients following a surgery or any other procedure, you may want to simplify your directives first.
Even if their minds are still sharp, you may want to consider simplifying things for them. They’re likely getting lots of information from several different doctors at this stage in their lives.
Take Physical Limitations Into Account
The bodies of the elderly are also not as limber as they once were. You should take this into consideration when giving them a home-care regimen as well. Because of joint pain, and conditions like arthritis, flossing their teeth or even brushing may be too painful or even impossible for them to carry out.
This is why we recommend providing them with wide-handled toothbrushes. This will maximize their hygiene and minimize their discomfort.
Ready to Improve Your Senior Dental Care?
Hopefully, these tips will help you improve your office’s senior dental care practices and thusly improve your patients’ health outcomes. Proper dental hygiene is crucial for the health of the elderly, so you want to make their trips to the dentist as painless as possible.
If you need any more tips, tricks, or advice about running your dental practice, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.