Focused picture of an elderly male patient with hearing aid side view with blurred woman doctor in the background

Overcoming Hearing and Visual Limitations at Your Dental Appointment

Around 13% of adults report severe visual difficulties, including blindness or complications seeing even with visual aids, and about 12 million people (ages 12+) suffer from hearing loss in both ears. Visual and hearing limitations should not prevent anyone from seeking dental treatment. Dr. Rachel Monteiro, and her staff at River Oaks Dental, follows and support’s the American Dental Association’s standards of providing quality, equal, and accessible dental care.

Research shows there is an increased severity of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) in visually impaired patients. This has been attributed to the patient’s inability to notice early warnings of gum issues, such as redness or swelling. It is important to have an understanding of your dental anatomy to ensure you are reaching, brushing, and properly cleansing all surfaces of your oral cavity.  

Overall hearing loss may be decreasing over time, but it is still expected to rise due to the aging population and longer life-expectancies. While patients with hearing loss may be able to see changes occurring in their mouths, they must be able to communicate with dental professionals that can guarantee preventative measurements are taking place.

How we can work together during your visit:

We can use touch cues to communicate with one another. For example, a tap to the chin signals you are able to rest your jaw and close your mouth. More so, we want our patients to be comfortable throughout the entirety of their appointment; we will create signals to pause or continue treatment at the start of the visit. If the patient is able to lip read and provides consent, we can remove our masks during conversation. We are able to use clear face shields and maintain a proper distance as alternative protection.

It may be beneficial to have a pre-appointment visit if you wish to familiarize yourself with your surroundings, meet the team to communicate your needs, and complete any necessary patient paperwork in advanced. If additional treatment is needed after your exam is complete, our in-office technology allows us to utilize visual aids and intraoral images to explain to our patients what we see and what we will need to do to restore your oral health. We can also verbally explain why treatment may be necessary and what to expect at your next appointment.

Let us know if you think you will require assistance during your appointment – we happy to accommodate to your needs! If you think you’ll need extra time during your visit, we will gladly extend the time of your appointment ensure quality and excellent dental care. Schedule an appointment online at Riveroaksdentaljax.com or by calling us at 904.348.0416.

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