Getting my wife to brush her teeth has become increasingly difficult over the last 2 years. She does not see the connection between her self-declared 'perfect' teeth and the need to keep them clean. She was due her 6 month dental checkup so I arranged for an appointment at a surgery 5 minutes walk from her residential home rather than her usual place 5 miles away. She is mobile, so visiting the surgery seemed better than waiting untiI a dentist from the same practice came to the home. I outlined her circumstances, specified where she is living and confirmed that she is able to do stairs. I had high hopes that the practice would be dementia-friendly. On arrival, the receptionist handed my wife an electronic tablet and asked her to start listing her medication and to answer a string of questions. Even filling this in on paper would be beyond her so I did it from the list that I have committed to memory. I am computer-literate but not good with keyboards so this took some time, but I did my best, under some pressure as the dentist had already called for my wife. Upstairs I was shown a seat whilst my wife was helped into the dental chair. The rather irritable young dentist said that some of the questions had been answered wrongly so we had to go through them again. He then tried to get my wife to sign her name on a tablet, which she could not do (no surprise) so I did it on her behalf. My wife was very good during the examination and did most of what the dentist told her. She did not understand his instruction to bite. He repeated it. She did not understand. Only when I suggested that she should think of eating something did she get it. He then asked her if she flossed. Er, what? My wife's teeth are in reasonable shape (according to the dentist) but she has some gum disease and a build up of plaque. Clean your teeth twice a day with flouride toothpaste he said. I told him that this was unlikely to happen. At her last checkup she was referred to a dental hygienist so I asked if this was indicated. The arrogant chap (no doubt just saying what his training told him) said that he did not believe in putting the 'patient' through unnecessary and pointless treatment if she wasn't prepared to clean her teeth properly! Clean your teeth as advised and come back in 6 months he told her. The dentist suggested that he could put on a half hour talk about dental hygiene at the home. It seemed that he meant that this would be for residents. On reflection, I can't believe that he could be that unaware of how dementia robs people of the ability to understand or remember the simplest things, or to sit still for long enough to appreciate his erudition. The experience left a rather sour taste in my mouth but it was not all bad. On the walk back my wife recognised some of the staff from the nearby respite centre so we chatted to them for a while. Back at her home, I entertained the manager and 2 members of care staff with a description of the visit and the dentist's complete lack of empathy and understanding. This served as a good way in to the subject of my wife's dental hygiene and how to tackle it. That, of course, is a different story.