Dental Care and Seniors
Dental care is important at any age. But as patients age, they are more likely to develop dental problems. By the time patients reach their senior years, they are more likely to require restorative treatments such as dental crowns or implants. At Dr. Burton Gooch Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we encourage our senior patients to attend routine general dentistry exams so we can check the health of their teeth and gums, along with the condition of any restorations. If we identify any problems, we will develop a complete treatment plan to improve your oral health. To learn more about dental care and seniors, contact our Birmingham, AL practice today.
Dental Conditions that Are Common Among Seniors
Seniors are more likely to suffer from various dental problems, including:
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is common among all patients, but seniors are at an increased risk for decay because they often have thinner enamel and exposed roots. Once any decayed material is removed from the tooth, it can be restored with a dental filling, inlay, onlay, or crown.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is more prevalent among older patients because they are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, or are unable to properly care for their teeth. Gum disease can be treated with root planing and scaling, flap surgery, and antibiotics.
- Tooth erosion: Tooth erosion occurs due to the consumption of acidic foods and drinks, teeth grinding, and normal wear and tear that takes place when biting and chewing. Seniors are more likely to suffer from tooth erosion due to their age. Erosion can cause increased tooth sensitivity and make patients more vulnerable to cavities or tooth loss. Tooth erosion can be treated with dental bonding and crowns.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth is a condition in which not enough saliva is produced. Saliva plays an important role in washing away food particles and bacteria, so a lack of it can cause plaque bacteria to cling to the teeth and gums, making the patient more prone to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Because seniors are more likely to take medications, they are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, which is a side effect of many medications. Increasing water intake and use of an artificial saliva product may treat dry mouth.
- Bad breath: Bad breath is caused by tooth decay, gum disease, root canal infection, and dry mouth. Because seniors are at an increased risk of all of these conditions, they may also develop bad breath as a side effect. Bad breath can be treated by addressing its root cause.
- Missing teeth: Older patients are more likely to have missing teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or gum disease. Dr. Gooch recommends that patients with missing teeth seek replacement immediately to avoid the consequences of tooth loss, which include bone degeneration, shifting of surrounding teeth, facial collapse, and impaired dental function. To replace missing teeth, we can use traditional or implant-supported dental bridges or dentures, or place an implant-supported crown.
To schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Gooch, contact our practice today.