We talk a lot about health and well-being of older adults, but don’t often address geriatric dental health – and it’s a very important piece to overall health. So, we decided it was time to highlight some important dental-related health information, especially since we’ve recently re-opened our updated, expanded, remodeled Walker Methodist Dental Clinic.
Importance of Geriatric Dental Health
Routine visits to the dentist can do more than keep teeth healthy, they will also tell your dentist a great deal about your overall health. Research has found that good oral health is an essential aspect of good overall health and a higher quality of life.
A growing number of the older adult population are retaining their teeth, so it’s important to properly care for them. And, optimal periodontal health – even later in life – can be one of the best ways to help reduce your healthcare expenditures compared to other routine health measures. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, and many diseases have symptoms that start in your mouth. Through dental clinic visits, dentists can find evidence in your gums and teeth that help prevent and treat a number of diseases and conditions:
- Heart Disease
- Liver Disease
- Eating Disorders
Visiting the dentist isn’t just for your teeth and dental health – it’s for the overall health of your body! Don’t neglect your dental appointments, they could save your life.
Life Made Easier at Walker Methodist
In an effort to make living in our communities comfortable, enjoyable, health-filled, and maintenance-free we have an on-site dental clinic in our Health Center community on the Minneapolis Campus. It’s one of our many amenities we’re happy to offer to our residents. It is unique because our Walker Methodist Dental Clinic is the state’s only clinic specially designed for the care of older adults located in a long-term care community and is also open to the surrounding public. In addition, it is staffed in conjunction with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Our Walker Methodist Dental Clinic specializes in geriatric dentistry; we have a dentist, hygienist, dental assistant and office assistant on-staff in our dental clinic.
The equipment used at our dental clinic is specialized to serve older adults - they can be safely and comfortably moved into the dentist chairs so dental work can be completed without making them feel uncomfortable. The expanded clinic features additional and larger treatment rooms for all patients, and provides wheelchair access, airlift dental chairs, and mechanical lift equipment for those with limited mobility. The renovation was made possible by support from the Minnesota Department of Health, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, and Stevens Square Foundation.
All residents of Health Center are offered care at our dental clinic. We also open our doors to several other nursing home residents in the community to bring their residents here and take advantage of the equipment and services our dental clinic offers. Patients come from Farmington, to Forest Lake to Rogers to receive the specialized care at our dental clinic!
Our new dental clinic opened in January 2016 and we’re very excited! We’re also planning an open house for the dental clinic on March 16, 2016 – we’d love for you to join us. The open house is open to residents, those who live in the East Harriet neighborhood, professionals, and clinic referrals; come one, come all to celebrate and see our new space!
If you or a loved one is in need of a dental check-up, cleaning, or some oral maintenance, pencil us on your calendar and make an appointment, your smile deserves it!