May is Dental Care Awareness Month, and dental care is something that many seniors need to pay more attention to. Seniors should be getting dental checkups and cleanings at least twice a year. That’s because dental problems can be an indicator of other health problems for seniors. Finding those problems early can help keep seniors healthy. And routine cleanings will help seniors who have their natural teeth hang onto them longer. But if your senior loved one has been putting off getting dental care or avoids going to the dentist unless it’s necessary, it is time for you or their senior home care aides to step in. They may not have a regular dentist or their favorite dentist may have retired.
If your senior parent needs to find a new dentist, these tips will help you, your senior loved one, and their senior home care aides find a senior-friendly dentist:
Check With Their Insurance Company
The first thing that you should do when looking for a dentist for your senior loved one is to check with their insurance company if they have dental insurance. The insurance company should have a searchable website where you can find in-network providers that are in your senior loved one’s area. You can also ask a rep from the insurance company if they have any dentists in the network that specialize in senior dental care.
Ask Other Seniors For Recommendations
People love to talk about their good and bad experiences with dentists. Your senior parent should ask their friends and neighbors for recommendations when it comes to choosing a local dentist. But you and your senior parent can also check local provider reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook to find out from real patients if dentists have the skills to provide good senior-focused dental care.
Set Up A Short Meet And Greet
If your senior loved one is afraid of going to the dentist or if they are very particular about who they see for the medical and dental care you can set up an initial appointment for them with several different dentists. You may have to pay out of pocket for those appointments depending on what type of dental insurance your senior loved one has but it’s worth the cost. Your senior loved one will be able to sit down with the dentist and talk with them to find out if they get along well and if your senior loved one feels comfortable with that dentist before having that dentist do any work on their teeth.
Call The Dentist’s Office And Ask About Their Care For Seniors
You can also call ahead of time to talk to the practice manager about what dental care services they offer for seniors and what their experience level is in caring for seniors. A senior home care provider can also make some calls on behalf of your senior loved one. Ask if they have comfortable chairs that seniors can easily get in and out of if they offer music or videos for seniors to watch while they are getting work done, and whether or not they have a lot of senior patients. Once you find a dentist that your senior parent feels comfortable with it will be a big difference in their willingness to get the dental care they need.