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Webinar: How to Take Care of the Aging Mouth

By September 8, 2020October 1st, 2020No Comments

How to Take Care of the Aging Mouth

A Webinar with Alisa Kauffman, Hosted By Knowledgeable Aging

  • Here’s What You’ll Learn:
  • Complete dentition
  • Teeth with partial dentures
  • Complete dentures
  • Products to use
  • Special needs products
  • Denture adhesives and cleaners

Questions and Answers from the Webinar

Below is a brief synopsis of Q/A discussed during Dr. Kauffman’s interview with Knowledgable Aging.

Note: Geriatric House Call Dentistry and Dr. Alisa Kauffman do not profit in any way from the recommendations and product links discussed in this blog and webinar. 

What toothpaste should geriatric patients use?

So many toothpastes are abrasive, Dr. Alisa Kauffman only recommends “Closys +55” line of toothpaste.

Why did you get into geriatric dentistry?

Dr. Alisa Kauffman was always extremely passionate about geriatric dentistry, so much so that her denture techs told her not to give up. Plus, “It’s really hard to find a dentist who makes great dentures.” Alisa had the same lab tech until he was 85 years old (God rest his soul), but now has a great young guy who she works closely with to ensure her dentures always fit.
Dr. Alisa Kauffman got into the field when her best friend’s dad had a stroke and needed in-home dental care. It wasn’t long before the word got out about her mobile dentistry services for elderly patients. She decided to sell her formal dental practice to take up mobile dentistry for geriatric patients full time. She has now been practicing for over 35 years and expanding her business nationally.

Are they teaching Geriatric Dentistry in school?

Yes, but it is still incredibly niche. The feild is still underserviced, but some schools cover these topics and it’s (hopefully) going to be on an upward trend.
Dr. Alisa Kauffman will be lecturing at Tufts School of Dental Medicine, (among others) in 2020.

Mobile Dentistry during the Covid 19 Pandemic

There are so many situations where mobile dentistry is necessary, the Pandemic being one of them. Geriatric House Call Dentistry has been helping non-elderly patients of various ages who are quarantined, but these cases are few and far between. If somebody has an ailment and needs help, we encourage them to fill out a contact form and we can assist with a referral.

What happens to your mouth as you age?

Dry mouth is the first thread to oral health. It’s very important to drink a lot of water when you age.  Many of our patients drink lots of coffee which is a diuretic and can cause dehydration. Dehydration causes weight loss and can be a proponent to dentures becoming loose or falling out.  We recommend “All Day” with Xylitol.  Additionally, if you wear dentures, denture paste can really dry your mouth out.  Dr. Alisa Kauffman highly recommends the only FDA approved paste by Dr. Berland. Lastly, drinking water is an important component to dislodging food that can get stuck in teeth and cause disease and decay.
Brush after every meal! Drink plenty of water. Wash with an oral rinse. Do these 3 easy tips and your teeth will thank you.

Why don’t caregivers assist with dentistry or teeth cleaning?

They are afraid of getting bitten – especially if the patient has dementia. Alisa uses Bite Lock by Sage to help prevent this.

How do you handle those with Parkinson’s and Dementia?

It’s important to find out which hand is dominant and sit on that side. When working with a geriatric patient with dementia, it’s important to always approach the patient from the front as not to startle them, or cause unease. Additionally, it may sound unconventional, but it’s a little known secret that I lie to my cognitively challenged patients!  Seriously! Dr. Kauffman will tell the patient she is a relative or a friend of the family and that she is there to help them, which isn’t a lie – but it helps comfort the patient and put them at ease.  Never sedate a demented patient! 

How do you make dentures look real?

Dentures wear down and can sometimes shift,  especially if patients lose weight. We sometimes have the option to perform a reline.
Dentures can also break or chip if dropped. If you drop a denture, and you have the pieces, it’s extremely easy to fix. Do NOT try to repair on your own, you will NEVER be able to properly fix it if the denture is not repaired properly.  If you break a clasp, that also can be repaired. As long as we have the pieces, and they haven’t been put together improperly, we can fix them! Request information on dentures > 

How long do dentures last?

Dentures only last about 10 years due to wear and usage, and the wear on the bones within the mouth. They can be repaired – but again, never try to fix a denture on your own. However, if you don’t sleep with your dentures, they last a lot longer. Take them out, soak them, you can use Dr. Berland’s solution to keep them fresh. We can assess each denture differently to understand if they need to be repaired or replaced.

Is each denture made custom?

Yes. We need to fit each denture custom to the patient. We may need to extract a tooth based on the patient’s lifestyle, health, or goals. After 35 years, Alisa is unconventionally conventional about her approach when fixing or fabricating dentures for her patients.

Should the geriatric dentist and patient relationship be ongoing?

Yes! Dentures can wear or break, teeth can fall out or get damaged. We need to be proactive and maintain an ongoing professional relationship to ensure the patient’s oral health needs are met – and exceeded!

Things to consider before dentures

We need to make sure the patient doesn’t have any infections or pre-existing conditions that may affect the oral and systemic health involved when developing dentures.  Since there are so many factors involved with dentures, we conduct a holistic whole-body assessment before discussing treatment options.

Where do patients sit when mobile dentists arrive for in-home treatment?

Patients can sit in their most comfortable recliner or chair. We are extremely accommodating to the needs and comfort of the patient.

Can Dentists join this movement?

Yes! We’re always looking for well-qualified dentists who can help treat such an underserved population of geriatric patients. We want to help you start your own practice in your area. It’s so rewarding in many ways! Learn more about becoming a mobile house call dentist and how to join the team >

How do you see yourself in the future?

I am a pioneer. I want to leave a legacy after I retire and move on from my practice. People need to maintain their dignity in their smile, and their quality of life. We want to make it possible for everyone to get the help they need and deserve.