Saturday, February 18, 2012
dental health Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis does not make dental care easy.
Long story made short Patti was less than cooperative at her last failed checkup. Fortunately there is a positive end to this story.
Believe it or not there’s at least one dentist who prefers the freedom of not having an office practice, traveling between care facilities and nursing homes.
Rather than just leave it alone he called me with a plan.
What if … he revisited after Patti had been given a dosage of Ativan/Lorazepam beforehand, the proverbial “chill pill”. Adding me to the mix could improve success because in the care facility era “no means no” for professionals, only family/POA can ‘persuade’ a patient.
Arriving I transferred Patti to a geri-chair, a recliner on wheels. I was blown away by the mobile dentist office set up, it had everything except musak. (Rummaging about I found a boom box and a CD of new age music and fixed that.)
Patti (under the influence of Ativan) was a model patient and the dentist was a godsend. Patti’s dentist prefers the life of mobile dentistry. He loves its freedom and its focus on patients.
Patti’s teeth were cleaned, polished, and cavities filled. Only the high speed drill which sprayed water seemed to agitate her. I quipped it was just the tooth fairies waterboarding her. “Little bastards” she mumbled and with a smile her calm returned.
Afterwards, we talked about new solutions because status quo is not working. Apparently an electric toothbrush is a win-win because in a pinch it can be used simply with water, eliminating the whole rinse and spit challenge. Regardless of MS and all its challenges, dental care cannot be trivialized. Brushing teeth is social behavior. Visiting or outings should include teeth brushing rather than depend on staff, remember staff can be told ‘no I don’t want to’. Thinking outside the box is a must.
Since it was 60˚F (15.6˚C) afternoon in February, and the geri-chair fit in our wheelchair accessible van, I took Patti to the park in her rolling recliner for a reward before a well-deserved afternoon nap.
Related previous entries:
a trip to the dentist (Jan 2006)
teeth brushing smiles (Feb 2009)
dental care Multiple Sclerosis (May 2010)
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
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