We have said it many times before, accidents and mishaps can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. For us, it is very easy to contact and visit an emergency dental clinic and have our problems fixed by a trained professional. Just visit Sydney-based dentists from DDSS, for instance, and you can be sure that all your dental problems are solved. But have you ever wondered how the elderly and senior residents of a hospice or home for the aged receive immediate dental care for an emergency situation? How can these frail and illness-stricken senior patients avail of the services of an emergency dentist?
Immediate dental care for seniors
What dental emergency situations can the elderly encounter? Dental problems with regard to their dental appliances such as dentures, bridges, and crowns are common, so it’s easier for hospice administration to find dental services to cater to those problems. But for bed-ridden elderly patients, getting them to see a dentist may be a challenge. What dental emergencies can they have that the services of an emergency dentist are necessary?
Dental emergency cases for the elderly
Toothache. We are taught by our dentists that any form of dental pain should be considered an emergency because we don’t know the culprit yet we are sure that there is indeed a problem. Addressing a problem in its early stages is better than checking them out when the progression of complications already requires complex dental treatments.
Tooth fracture. Our elderly patients are prone to falls because they have limited movement and balance issues, so they are at risk of obtaining chipped or broken tooth if their face hits the floor.
Oral lesions. Dentures are typically worn by our senior patients, and sometimes these appliances become ill-fitting with use. This can lead to irritating the gums and cause lesions that may be painful for them. It can also be that their ability to maintain proper dental hygiene gets compromised as they already lack the energy to do so, so fungal or bacterial infection may invade their mouths and affect their dental cavity.
What can an emergency dentist do?
For situations that need immediate dental care, the hospice or the institution where the elderly resides should take action first. It will be difficult for an emergency dentist to foresee any problem that our senior patients may have if they have not been checked by a dental professional before. Dentists can only do so much for elderly patients who are unable to care for their dental health on their own. The administration of the hospice care or senior living institutions should request the services of a dentist first. In turn, dentists can give required palliative care to these health-compromised patients just so their quality of life gets maintained and they can continue to live comfortably.
If senior patients are consistently monitored for their overall general health, including their dental health, chances of encountering a dental emergency are slim. Why? Because dentists can already find a way to establish good dental practices and procedures that can address any dental problem that they may have even before it exacerbates and turn to an emergency. As they always say, prevention is always better than cure.