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:

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 



    I was saying that often your experiences mirror mine at my mother's nursing facility. At her care conference ** last week, I requested that her teeth be brushed better and more often. I'm her POA so I can override her vetoes on the matter. The travelling dentist she sees only wants to extract all her teeth and give her dentures. Duh... dementia???

    BTW your article in MS FOCUS was great. Congrats!!

    ** I asked about the quarterly care conferences, and they are held, but family are only asked to one a year. I'm able to attend any and all if I want. Thanks for the info!!

    1. Muffie, "quarterly care conference, but family are only asked to one a year" whoa Nelly, talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull! :)

  2. Traveling dentist ... what a concept! Wish they came to the home in addition to nursing facilities. So glad that this service exists for Patti.

    1. Cranky, the tooth fairy or a traveling dentist I would have thought them both figments of the imagination had I not seen one with my own eyes. :)

  3. I have years of catching up to do on your blog, but so many of your recent entries are full of useful advice/info for me! I put off taking over my mom's teeth brushing for sooo long and now that I've gotten over my own discomfort with how invasive it feels to do it for her (and it's SOOO hard for her to keep her mouth open, so it always turns into a rather comedic episode leaving us BOTH covered in spittle and toothpaste), I can see by her bleeding gums that I should have been doing this for a while.

    It's tough in a care facility though. If I'm not there at bedtime, it just cofuses her for me to suggest that we brush her teeth. I guess the best thing is to just stick with it though and eventually she'll get used to the new routine.

    1. Chelle, yes the invasive aspect of helping someone brush there teeth is a two way hurdle, no doubt about it. I'm with you comedic episode is always a good outcome.

  4. Good dental care begins with your own efforts to maintain an appropriate regimen of dental hygiene. You should also see your dentist on a regular basis for exams and cleanings.

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  5. Dr. Bauer’s expertise in general dentistry has made my husband and I love his services. He is able to come to our assisted living facility whenever we make an appointment. During his last visit to the facility, we got great tips on practicing good oral hygiene from his hygienist. Now, we don’t have to worry about dental issues, Dr. Bauer is here to help us. We recommend giving him a call (561) 310-6556 or visit his website

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