- The nurse, during the initial assessment and during regular oral care, will continually observe for changes in the oral cavity that would necessitate a referral to an oral health professional.
- It is important to recognize that a team approach including a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant and other trained staff will help in the provision of care to individuals with disabling physical, mental, sensory and cognitive abilities.
- Nurses should also note that tobacco users are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer and lesions, and should consult with a dentist or dental hygienist regularly.
- Long time use of methamphetamine (MA) has been associated with severe MA induced caries.
- Indicators for a referral:
- Aggressive behaviour out of character with the individual
- Bad breath
- Bleeding during brushing or during oral care
- Broken or loose fillings
- Calculus deposits
- Chipped or worn teeth or cracked dentures or partials
- Discolouring of the teeth or tongue
- Excessive dry mouth
- Excessive tooth grinding
- Jaw pain
- Loose or ill fitting dentures
- Loose teeth
- Pain on brushing or stated tooth pain
- Refusal of dental care
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Sores or lesions in the oral cavity
- Swollen gums
- Visible decay
Oral Health: Nursing Assessment and Intervention
Point of Care Resources