Dentists Who Make House Calls
One of the really great things about a good assisted living residence is that many have doctors who make house calls to the residence. No more trudging out for those routine doctor visits. But what about seeing the dentist?
One of the biggest causes of malnutrition is painful teeth. Anxious and combative behavior can also often be attributed to teeth that hurt. Poor "dentitian" can also lead to illness in other parts of the body. So it's important that we continue to see after the dental health of our older loved ones.
Easier said than done when you live some distance away or you're caring for an older person who doesn't travel easily. In that case, a simple dental check-up can easily take a whole day, exhaust your elder, and drive you to the brink.
How about a dentist who makes house calls to residential facilities?
They may be tricky to find, but in more and more locations there are dentists who will come to your elder's assisted living residence.
How to Find a Dentist Who Makes House Calls
1. First, check with the residence. There may be a dentist who visits your residence that you haven't heard about.
2. Call local nursing homes and ask who comes into their facility. More nursing homes than assisted living residences have made arrangements with local dentists for care inside their facilities. The nursing home social worker is the one to ask about house call dentists because they are usually the ones who arrange for their patients to be seen.
3. Check with your own dentist if you live in the same city. If he or she has a busy office practice they probably don't make dental house calls themselves, but they may know of a colleague who does.
3. Call your local dental association.
4. Call the closest dental school. They often know about local dental house call practices.
Unfortunately, most dentists are not able to make house calls to private homes. When they visit an assisted living residence dentists can see several patients on one trip. This "economy of scale" makes it financially worth their while to pack up all their equipment and drive through local traffic. It is neither practical nor economical to consume what could be several hours to see one patient in his or her own home.
Remember, Medicare does not cover the cost of routine dental care. Medicaid may, but the dentist must participate in the program. If your elder receives Medicaid, be sure to ask any dentist you arrange to see whether the practice participates in Medicaid. Never take for granted that the answer will be "yes."