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My father is a 81 year old dementia patient in a North Carolina Veteran long term ward.  The state has guardianship of him; I have seen his teeth, and they look like an abomination.

They don't brush his teeth, no X-rays. As gar as I know, he hasn't had a cleaning or brushing in four years!

The claim is made by VA & North Carolina Human and Health Services doing nothing is better than doing something.

My father refuses to allow anyone to brush or exam his teeth.

My thought is simple...he got this way because the VA from day one wasn't brushing his teeth.

Is it too late for my dad?

Dear Luther,

As long as your dad is alive, it's not too late.

Having said that, there are several issues that you raise that need to be addressed.  First is his oral health care.  For this, you will need to ask your questions to the oral and dental health officer at the VA.  Because your father's guardianship has been given to the VA, the VA is responsible to provide him proper care.  And their dentist should know what that proper care should be.

If the answer you receive does not meet your expectations, because legal guardianship care involves legal issues as well as health care and personal care issues, it will be best for you to ask your attorney the same questions you asked me, and obtain a legal opinion.

Once you have a legal opinion, then you must decide how much you are willing to spend in dollars and energy to change the way your father is being treated.

Please let me know what progress you make in your quest.  Your responses will help me with patients like your dad.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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