Dental Tips for Caregivers
If you’re one of the millions of caregivers of an elderly patient who perhaps suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, then you probably maintain a checklist of the many daily tasks necessary to care for them. When making your list, don’t forget to include dental health as part of your routine.
How Caregivers Can Help
- For as long as possible, encourage the patient to care for him/herself. It’s a dignity issue.
- When you must step in, physically demonstrate brushing and flossing, and the patient may follow. You do the remembering, one motion at a time.
- Taking over: quietly explain what you are going to do and when. Most people respond best to a regular schedule of hygiene, and you’ll want all the cooperation you can get.
- It’s easier to make a good job of it if you stand behind the wheelchair-bound patient and gently cup the head as you work; same goes for a person lying down or sitting.
- Dentures should be removed and cleaned daily. Special caution: ill-fitting dentures will surely cause eating problems—just when the patient needs nutrition most.
- Regular checkups are critical now, since patients may not be able to vocalize or properly explain when they are experiencing pain or other dental problems.
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Dr. Angela Burns moved to Austin 10 years ago and instantly fell in love with our beautiful city. Dr. Burns is originally from the Texarkana area. She attended Texas A&M for her undergraduate degree and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center for her degree in dental surgery (DDS). Dr. Burns is committed to providing her patients with gentle, technologically advanced dental treatment. She attends an average of 60 hours of continuing education every year. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Texas Dental Association, and the Capital Area Dental Society. Dr. Burns and her husband, Gary, have an 11-year-old daughter, Sydney, who is a proud 6th grader at Hill Country Middle School. She is also very involved in the Eanes PTO, her church, and loves raising her family in the Westlake community. “Growing up, I was drawn to mediating and helping others feel more included and less anxious. I was a camp counselor, student government officer and being the oldest of five, I was the family mediator. I found that I had a calling to help alleviate stressful situations for others and realized that being a good listener was something that was key to this. These skills really helped guide me into becoming a dentist that has based my practice on relationships, empathy and a sense of comfort. I knew that I wanted to provide an atmosphere that felt like home when others walked in. Our practice is small, personal and state of the art and we hope you feel like you’re hanging out with friends when you are here!” When she is not practicing dentistry, Dr. Burns enjoys traveling, hiking the greenbelt, enjoying Austin’s music scene, and eating Amy’s Ice Cream.