Hospice Dentistry FAQ

Frequently asked questions related to hospice dentistry.

Hospice Dentistry

What is palliative treatment of teeth?

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Palliative care dentistry is the study and management of patients with active, progressive disease who are at risk for compromised oral health because it has been damaged by either their own illness or treatments. The focus will always be on quality-of life considerations. A palliative dental practice focuses largely in providing palliative dental treatment to cancer sufferers or far-advanced diseases so they can live comfortably during their last days before death.

What is oral care at the end of life?

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The mouth is often referred to as "the gateway" of our body because it becomes the initial site where treatment-related side effects manifest in terminally ill patients. It could also be compromised by progressive disease and have complications that impact QOL (quality of life). In order to ensure that the patients are able to communicate, eat and swallow properly, the mouth needs care. Oral care is therefore essential in both palliative as well as end of life situations with goals on preventing oral complications or maintaining adequate functions while also trying to optimize patient's quality of life through comfortable treatment options.

What are the oral problems among palliative care patients?

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  1. Oral soreness
  2. Xerostomia and mouth dryness
  3. Candidiasis
  4. Dysphagia
  5. Denture problems
  6. Difficulty talking
  7. Poor oral hygiene

What is the recommended preventive oral care for hospice patients?

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Preventive mouth care tips for hospice patients:

  1. Keep lips moist
  2. Brush teeth
  3. Keep inside of mouth moist
  4. Interproximal cleaning
  5. Clean soft tissues
  6. Clean dentures

What is emergency palliative dental treatment?

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Palliative treatment of dental pain is usually done on an emergency basis, because by definition this helps to ease symptoms without curing the underlying condition. Dentists know that people who experience any kind of health emergencies can be very stressed and even more so when they have a toothache! With dental pain almost never resolving on its own and usually getting worse over time, palliative treatment may need to be administered for help with relieving the problem.