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Geriatric Dentistry

Attention Caregivers: 3 Treatments Your Bedbound Patient May Need

By December 2, 2019September 15th, 2020No Comments
bedbound dentistry caregiver

Don’t Fall Prey to Thinking that the Elderly Don’t Need Dental Treatments!


Dentistry has come a long way since the early 1800s when barbers were the most likely ones to treat dental issues.  Referred to as barber-surgeons, these men would often cause more problems than they fixed by suggesting such things as picking your gums with the bill of an osprey in order to soothe aching teeth.

We are grateful that dentistry has improved since the days of barber-surgeons and osprey picks.  However, there still exist challenges to which much of the dental world has yet to catch up.

For the aging population, it can be extremely difficult to travel for dental care.

Thankfully, there are still pioneers in every medical field.  Dr. Alisa Kauffman has been offering bedbound dentistry to this growing population for over 30 years.  Seeing a problem with very few solutions available, Dr. Kauffman began offering homebound or bedbound dentistry early in her dental career. Dr. Kauffman currently serves Manhattan.

And while much of the world relegates dental problems in the elderly to simply ‘not worth the trouble’, Dr. Kauffman believes that treating the dental pain and discomfort in these patients can improve outlook, behavior, and even health of the individual.

If you’re wondering what issues a bedbound dental service might even be able to treat, you may be surprised at the breadth of problems that can be fixed right at a patient’s bedside.


What Conditions Might Bedbound Dentistry Treat?

Loose Dentures

Dentures can prove extremely frustrating to your elderly patient or loved one.  If they are too loose, they will continually fall down or out while trying to accomplish such simple tasks as eating and even talking.  Over time, this continual irritation can lead to the elderly simply giving up on either activity unless absolutely necessary.

Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Klein are able to handle this problem with ease.  They will either reline the old denture, ensuring proper fit, or fabricate an entirely new one right at the bedside.


Broken or Loose Teeth

Again, another irritation for eating and talking, a broken tooth can also bring with it infection and swollen gums and cheeks.  A bedbound dentist is able to assess the situation right away, remove any loose or broken teeth, and determine if infection is present that must be addressed.


Bleeding Gums

A common concern we hear among caregivers for the elderly is that brushing only results in bleeding gums, and the teeth seem to be so coated that they do not clean properly, no matter how hard they try.

In this case, the patient simply needs a deep scaling and prophys.  The deep scaling and prophys removes hard calculus below the gums and on the brushing area of the teeth.  After this coating has been removed, Dr. Kauffman or Dr. Klein will take time to instruct the caregivers on the proper methods for tooth cleaning for elderly, even offering some tips for making the experience easier for both parties.

These are only a few of the most common treatments given during bedbound dentistry.  One of our Geriatric House Call Dentists can also offer such things as small fillings, tooth extraction, new dentures and comprehensive preventive care.

Perhaps it’s time to offer your patient or loved one a proper dental checkup through bedbound dentistry services.  What are you waiting for?

If you’re in the Manhattan area, contact Dr. Alisa Kauffman on her website.

If you are in the west Long Island area, you can contact Dr. Rachel Klein by filling out this form.


Are you a caregiver? Take a look at our free Caregivers Manual to Oral Health for Dementia and Alzheimer patients.