Sonya Dunbar, also known as the Geriatric Toothfairy is a Registered Dental Hygienist she has and over 25 years of dental experience in private practice, skilled nursing facilities, academia and marketing and has proudly served her country in the United States Navy. For the last 16 years, she worked in long-term care facilities both as a Dental Hygienist providing clinical treatment and as a staff trainer providing in-services and hands-on training to the staff and we cannot forget her very entertaining seminars packed with valuable information on Geriatric oral care. That experience has afforded her the opportunity to learn the concerns, desires, needs and expectations of patients and their families as well as those of facility staff and administration. Her experience also created a desire in her to do things better to improve the quality of care and level of customer service provided to residents, staff and administration of long-term care facilities.
How poor oral care is KILLING our Geriatric population, how access to Mobile dentistry can change that - Sonya Dunbar MHA RDH
Many residents in nursing homes have trouble receiving adequate dental care because of unique oral care challenges, such as cognitive skill, poor staff training about oral care, and difficult clinical situations that arise such as diabetes.
High dental cost also presents a huge obstacle, since Medicaid and Medicare pay very little for dental services. Another challenge is getting residents in wheelchairs and Jeri chairs to the dental office and into a dental chair.
Oral health has a significant impact on physical health and mental health including self-esteem and overall quality of life. In addition, there are many systemic diseases that have been directly linked to poor oral health such as aspirated pneumonia which sends many elderly people living in nursing homes to the hospital it is also probably the most common sequelae of poor oral health in the aged person. The plaque build-up on teeth has been found in the lungs of residents with pneumonia due to poor oral care.
Access to oral care is not only needed but critical for most seniors living in long-term care facilities. Mobile dentistry is now on the rise to provide this much-needed care.
Golden Nuggets for Life 2018
· Poor oral health may contribute to aspirated pneumonia when oral bacteria travel from mouth to the lungs
· Swallowing difficulties result in poor oral clearance of residue
· Xerostomia-dry mouth
· Poor dental plaque control