Bringing Dentists to Seniors: Saving the Aging Population from Dental Health Care Decay
If you have observed that a lot of seniors are suffering from dental woes, it could be due to a host of reasons. They might not have dental coverage, do not have the means to visit a dentist, do not have access to proper dental care, do not know where to find a reputable practitioner, or it could be a simple case of knowledge deficit.
Even for those living in long-term care facilities, not everyone is being provided access to adequate dental hygiene. In fact, there were numerous reports in the past saying not all facilities consider dental care as a top-tier priority for their residents. While they can assist residents with simple oral hygiene, not every facility provides preventative dental care and on-site dentistry.
Dental Care and the Elderly’s Overall Health
Proper dental care is vital to the elderly’s overall health. There is a connection between poor oral health and life threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. When a senior doesn’t receive proper dental care or is unable to perform basic oral hygiene, he or she is at increased risk for tooth loss and tooth and gum diseases that can lead to infection. Neglected dental problems can lead to heart attack or pneumonia because existing infections raise the levels of bacteria in the blood. Cavities, tooth loss, and jaw bone deterioration also puts an elderly at an increased risk for poor nutrition, resulting in the exacerbation of existing or underlying medical conditions.
Bringing Dental Services to the Elderly
Because family members and staff members of home care, long-term care, and assisted living facilities can only assist the elderly with basic oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing, and denture care, dentists need to help bridge the gap between dental health care and the elderly.
Some well-meaning individuals and groups have already started organizing mobile dental units. Some even invest in portable equipment that they can bring to a senior’s home or to a facility. Yes, by bringing dentists and dental services to the elderly instead of the other way around, there’s no need for seniors to travel to and from the dentist’s clinic.They also save on transportation costs. Conversely, by going to the elderly, dentists can expand their practice and increase their client base as business network as well.
This dental care on-the-go concept is a viable solution a problem that has affected senior citizens for a very long time. Imagine the relief it can provide to an elderly who has mobility issues or memory loss. The arrangement can relieve some of the stress off of family members and caregivers as well. It will also be of great help senior care facilities, especially those that have to frequently deal with staffing concerns. Dentists, with their portable equipment and digital patient files in tow, can easily go to facilities on a pre-agreed monthly schedule, or on a short notice for emergency cases.
A Top Tip for Dentists – Build Your Online Presence
A major challenge facing dentists is how to get seniors and facilities to find them. Of course, if you are a dentist, you should not underestimate the power of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. You can always bank on friends, family, patients and their family members, and even your suppliers to spread the word about your dental practice.
However, in this digital age, you must harness the immense benefits of utilizing the internet as an extremely powerful marketing tool. Build your online presence. Create a listing and submit it to directories or better yet, add your listing to websites like Senior Service Maps so that seniors and senior care facilities can easily find you.
Senior Service Maps is a website dedicated to bringing the elderly closer to senior care facilities, physicians, dentists, and other allied health practitioners specializing in geriatric care. If you are a dentist looking to expand your practice and increase your patient base, add your listing to our searchable database.
Photo Credit: National Counsel on aging
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