A dental clinic should be well-equipped to serve patients from all walks of life. Certain considerations can apply for patients with diminished mobility or cognitive functions, but the services on offer are as accessible as possible. However, a patient may reach a stage in life when physically visiting their dentist becomes impractical and even impossible. This may be the case when you have a parent or grandparent whose reduced mobility and cognitive changes (such as those experienced during dementia) mean that a dentist must come to them.
A Change in Circumstances
Your family member's needs mean that traditional in-person dental treatment may no longer be feasible—although, of course, accessible dental treatment remains essential. Talk to your family member's existing dentist to explain the change in circumstances. Enquire whether the dentist offers teledentistry. This is simply a basic dental examination, performed by videoconferencing. There are limitations to this examination, as it's purely visual. Should any areas of concern be noted, your family member must still be physically assessed by a dentist.
A Mobile Dental Service
Another relevant point to discuss with your family member's existing dentist is whether their clinic offers mobile dental services. This is often a dedicated service, so a clinic may not have a mobile option, but can refer you to a specific mobile dentistry clinic. This service is provided in a self-contained mobile dental vehicle, which travels to your family member. Mobility becomes less of an issue when your family member only needs to travel from their front door to the curb. Similarly, this approach can be beneficial for patients whose cognitive abilities may be affected by dementia, as the mobile clinic comes to them—minimizing the time they must spend in an unfamiliar setting (which is inside the vehicle itself).
Various Forms of Dental Treatment
A mobile dentistry clinic can provide a wide range of services, including diagnostic testing (x-rays), along with the facilities to perform various forms of treatment, including preventive care (professional cleaning) and some required interventions, such as filling a cavity or fitting a required dental restoration to a decayed tooth. Should a more significant problem be identified at a mobile clinic, it may still be necessary for your family member to be treated at a traditional brick-and-mortar clinic.
Teledentistry and mobile dentistry can be an ideal solution when circumstances mean that a family member can no longer easily travel to a physical clinic for basic treatment. Contact a local mobile dental service to learn more.