Aging and Oral Challenges
With aging, many age-related oral conditions often begin to develop. Illness or mobility impairments can make dental visits challenging. As a result, teeth often become compromised, and gums become sensitive and swollen.
Some conditions commonly diagnosed during a routine dental visit include:
XEROSTOMIA (dry mouth)
The Canadian Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) lists over 600 common medications that can contribute to xerostomia. Having a dry mouth is not only uncomfortable and leads to sore oral tissue, but it also increases the risk of developing dental caries (cavities).
PERIODONTAL DISEASE (gum disease)
Bad breath, receding gums, or bleeding gums may indicate the presence of periodontal disease. This chronic infection can be painful or it can go unnoticed, but either way it impacts overall health. Periodontal disease contributes to heart problems, and due to the presence of inflammation, makes it more difficult to control diabetes. It also leads to loose teeth, painful infections, and eventual tooth loss.
ROOT CARIES (cavities)
As gum recession occurs, the root of the tooth is exposed. There is no enamel protecting the root surfaces, leaving them especially susceptible to decay and tooth sensitivity. Root caries also make the teeth weak and can eventually result in a tooth breaking off entirely along the gum line, often resulting in aspiration, or infection from the remaining root tip.
Everything from oral cancer to less serious illnesses such as candidiasis (thrush) are commonly seen. These conditions often go unnoticed and untreated as they are difficult to see inside the oral cavity without a proper examination.
For a number of years, Dr. Petty and his staff have recognized the need for mobile dental services. In 2015, the Trey Petty Oral Health team began making periodic visits to care centres throughout the Calgary area. We were able to assess dental concerns and provide on-site treatment wherever possible. In 2016, our Dental Hygienists made these visits part of their weekly routine, and since that time they have visited care cenres once or twice a week provide routine dental hygiene treatment to patients.
HOW IT WORKS
During the appointment, one of our mobile dental hygienists will visit the patient in their room. The patient can remain in their wheelchair or bed if preferred. At this point, the hygienist will:
-provide an overall dental assessment including an oral cancer screening
-proceed with dental hygiene treatment (plaque and calculus/tartar removal, and polish as needed)
-provide a fluoride treatment
-oral hygiene instruction and suggestions to the patient and/or caregiver when possible
-evaluate and clean any partial or complete denture
Following the visit, our hygienist and Dr. Petty meet in-office to discuss findings for each patient, reviewing provided treatment and any new dental concerns. At this point, the hygienist and Dr. Petty will determine if the patient needs to make arrangements to visit the office for further dental treatments, such as extractions, fillings, or to treat infections.
We are happy to provide this service for residents in their own familiar surroundings, reducing stress associated with mobility and transportation challenges. We have learned so much within the last four years and look forward to expanding this service in the near future!
Please give us a call at the office to arrange a visit to you or your loved one within a care facility. We will happily get an appointment set up as quick as we can.