Alliance Homecare is proud to be connected with a vast network of referral partners in the home health care community. In fact, it’s these relationships that allow us to connect our clients to any service provider they may need.
Today, we’d like to introduce viewers to one of our collaborative partners, Carla Caramat, of House Call Dentists®. This organization is dedicated to providing a wide variety of individualized dental care for patients (awake or asleep) in the comfort of their own home.
Alliance: Please give our readers a brief description of House Call Dentists (HCD).
Carla Caramat, HCD: House Call Dentists provide at-home dental services to patients who are confined to their homes or have difficulty traveling. Our team utilizes advanced mobile dental technologies for both diagnosis and treatment. We visit private homes, assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities, as well as patients in the hospital. We are a fee-for-service private practice with offices in Manhattan and San Francisco
Alliance: What was your vision behind the creation of HCD?
HCD: Our vision was to remove barriers to receiving dental care. We are able to serve a diverse range of patients by individualizing our treatment and providing them at home.
Having been deeply involved with directors of hospital programs in New York, it became apparent that there was a need to serve the homebound, including elderly, cognitively disabled and medically compromised populations of patients who may not have access to dental care.
After some research, we learned that these populations are neglected. Our passion for helping the homebound regain their smile along with their ability to enjoy food is the most rewarding aspect of this work.
Through our partnerships with local hospitals and healthcare providers in the geriatric space, we have raised awareness that dental services can be available to previously ignored populations.
Alliance: How do our dental needs change as we age?
HCD: Today, older adults in their 70’s and 80’s still have many functional teeth. Many, though, are unaware that they have three times the risk of decay than children. Worse, this decay attacks the vulnerable root surface, which are exposed to gum recession due to advancing age. When combined with the decrease of saliva flow that accompanies age and the possibilities of taking medications that dry up saliva, a wildfire of dental problems ensue.
What’s more: dry mouth (a common complaint of older adults) creates problems with speaking, swallowing, and causes periodontal gum disease, which is linked to heart disease, failed heart procedures, stroke, aspiration, pneumonia, and diabetes. Current science has proven that it is more critical to take care of our teeth in old age than ever.
Alliance: How can we help our clients prevent these dental disasters?
HCD: Brush your teeth at least once per day for 3 minutes with a fluoride tooth paste. Replace your soft toothbrush every 3-4 months. Electric toothbrushes help everyone, especially when there is arthritis of hands.
If dentures are unsatisfactory or loose, consider dental implants to stabilize them. Older and younger patients have similar success rates regardless of age.
Alliance: How can we change the perception that dental health is not as important as other medical disciplines?
HCD: Culturally, many people view their lives as expendable with advancing age. We forget that dental health allows us to enjoy eating—one of the great joys of life—for as long as possible.
Until recently, science had not revealed how chronic gum infection and disease in the mouth spreads throughout the body. As an example, most people are unaware of the fact that dental caries or decay is considered a disease.
It cannot be overstated that chronic diseases, such as dental infections, kill slowly. Hip fractures, cardiac events and relocating a parent , must be properly prioritized as acute emergencies. They should not, however, cause dental hygiene to be placed on hold.
It is time for the American public to see that dental care is as medically necessary as every other part of their body. It is more important than ever to make oral health a priority.
Alliance: We couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for your time, Carla!
If you or someone you love is homebound and has been neglecting their oral health, we can help. Contact Alliance at 1-877-NURSE80.