Palliative dental care is dental care in Australia provided to patients who have a terminal illness and need dental treatment to prevent any oral health issues from developing.
What is palliative dental care?
There would be many unwanted side-effects when a patient would be taking medication or having treatment for a serious illness. The medications can take their toll on their bodies, they may also cause oral health issues. Palliative dental care may be used to offset the oral health problems that might be present in these patients.
For example, in patients who have cancer, they may experience dry mouth as a result of the chemotherapy they are taking. Dry mouth can cause several other oral problems that can cause even more discomfort to the patient. It can cause mouth sores and sore throat. Palliative dental care can be administered to these patients to ensure that they feel the least amount of discomfort and pain possible, especially while they are taking treatment methods for their more serious illness.
Ways palliative dental care can help patients
Help prevent other health issues from developing. It has been said by many experts that having a healthy mouth can promote better overall health in the process. Since these patients would already be suffering from a serious illness, it would be best if they do not develop any more illnesses that may become complications. Palliative dental care is done to prevent as much oral health issues from developing, so that health issues of the other parts of the body may be prevented as well.
Pain management. A person suffering from a serious illness will be no stranger to pain. This is it is the job of dentists to make sure that their oral health does not cause them more pain than they have to endure. Many oral health problems may develop in a patient who is taking a lot of medications and different types of treatment. Dentists who specialize in palliative dental care should work to make sure that any pain that is felt in the mouth can be managed.
Provide comfort to the patient. Some of the side effects of certain medications for serious illnesses may cause the patient to have a difficult time eating, swallowing and even in simply speaking. A palliative care dentist would have the job of helping these patients overcome these problems so that they can live a more comfortable life, even if they have to take medications. If these patients would not be given palliative dental care for these problems, there is a chance that they would become malnourished and dehydrated. These are the last things that they need because their health would be suffering as it is.
Why these patients need palliative dental care
In a nutshell, patients who suffer from a life-limiting disease would need palliative dental care to help them manage the oral side-effects that come with the disease they have. If you have a family member or loved one who is suffering from a terminal illness, ask your dentist how you can help them manage their oral symptoms.