One of the most devastating illnesses that can afflict people as they age is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that destroys memory and other important mental functions. In effect, a person with AD gradually becomes lost to their family and friends…and to themselves. As the disease progresses, so does the need emotional and physical care —including dental care.
In fact, the dental needs of Alzheimer’s patients are often overlooked and for fully understandable reasons: the patient forgets to keep up with his or her oral hygiene routine, dental appointments are not made and oftentimes, the family is focused on the patient’s more pressing health issues. Regardless of a patient’s cognitive state, dental care is important, and at the office of Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA, our professional staff is skilled in handling patients with Alzheimer’s dementia, gently caring for their oral health while gently caring for them as people — with respect and dignity.
During early-stage Alzheimer's, our focus is on prevention. We advise families on the importance of getting their loved one in for regular checkups so that we can monitor the condition of their teeth and hopefully prevent the need for more extensive procedures in the future, when the patient may be less able to tolerate them. Middle- and late-stage Alzheimer’s poses a different set of challenges when it comes to oral health. Families must become more involved at this stage of the disease and we encourage regular dental visits for the patient for as long as possible to keep tooth decay, gum problems, and infections at bay.
It is also helpful to provide us with a list of all health care providers who are caring for the person with Alzheimer’s, as well as a list of all medications to ensure there are no negative drug interactions.
Dental problems can be avoided and be one less thing to worry about when you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. At the office of Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA, we’re dedicated to providing superior service and compassionate care for all patients. For more information on our office, give us a call today.
By Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA
February 24, 2021