Medicaid dental care at the nursing home

I have always had very good teeth and few cavities. But my dentist warned when I moved to a nursing home I would have to be strident about my dental care or my teeth could rot out of my head. So, I asked the aides to brush my teeth thoroughly, and for the most part they did. 

When I saw the facility’s visiting dentist, he said I had several cavities that needed to be filled. That alarmed me so I saw my old dentist to get another opinion. He found the “supposed cavities” were spots on my teeth he had been watching for years. He said a new dentist could fill them prophylactically. My dentist suggested since I was private pay I should see a dentist closer to the facility where I would get better dental care. This worked out well for several years.

When I was eligible for Medicaid, the closest Medicaid dentist was 20 miles away. At first my treatment there seemed good enough. But it varied depending on which dentist I had. But several attacks of tooth sensitivity sent me to appointments where my teeth were X-rayed but no treatment was suggested.  Reluctantly, I wrote a complaint letter to the dentist. 

When I called to make my next dental appointment, I learned that dentist was no longer seeing Medicaid patients. I was disheartened when I was referred to a Medicaid dentist 30 miles away, and asked the activity director if she could help.  She got me an appointment with a Medicaid dentist eight miles away.

I saw that dentist for several years. My teeth seemed to be fine with the yearly cleaning paid for by Medicaid. But due to aging, my gums were receding and I needed sensitive spots externally bonded. Even though Medicaid paid  I was surprised it had to be redone so frequently. 

I also had a tooth fracture and had to get a crown. Luckily, it was not visible. But for someone like me who had never had any serious dental work, I was experiencing quite a bit after age 55. 

When I moved to this facility, I went to a dental business that accepts Medicaid patients. I was pleased I could get my teeth X-rayed, cleaned, and, if necessary, a tooth filled during one appointment. The care seems to be good and I hope it will remain that way. 

In a little over a year I have had my first root canal, due to another tooth fracture, and a porcelain crown (which I paid for myself). It is difficult for me to compare dental care between Medicaid providers, because my teeth need more attention. 

I know flossing daily would help. So I am researching the new tooth flossers on the market. One may allow me to have healthier teeth without using much more of an aide’s time.  

Topics: Clinical