As adults age, maintaining oral health shifts to concerns of restorative care and disease diagnosis.
In contrast to the dental concerns of children and young adults, senior dental care for senior adults becomes more focused on restoration over prevention. Although teeth stop developing after a certain age, routine dental visits are vital as the need for advanced care becomes more common as the likelihood of oral diseases and tooth loss increases. At Arkansas Family Dental, we offer dental services for seniors in Little Rock to aid in the shift towards restorative care.
Dental Health Issues in the Elderly
Over time, gum tissue tends to recede and pull away from teeth, exposing the root and making teeth more sensitive. A toothpaste or mouthwash made specifically for sensitive teeth can remedy the pain, but it is also helpful to have a consultation with your dental hygienist to avoid serious gum issues. If these options don’t resolve the problem, your dentist may treat the tooth with a soft tissue graft.
Senior adults must still be concerned about cavities as they have the possibility of developing more frequently in advanced age. Accumulating plaque and gum inflammation will still cause teeth to decay, especially if your diet contains sugary foods and drinks. Substantial medication use and disease can cause dry mouth that contributes to cavities, while receding gum tissues expose the root to decay. Without protective enamel and because of receding gums, teeth are left more vulnerable to accumulating bacteria and gum disease.
Because the risk of developing oral cancer increases with age, this is a major dental issue for senior adults to monitor. If you find a lesion on your tongue or on any tissue within the mouth, consult your dentist right away as this condition needs to be examined and treated. If mouth ulcers are caused by broken teeth or ill-fitting dentures, healing can be accomplished in a matter of weeks following repairs or restorations.
Regular checkups are the key to maintaining oral health throughout your lifetime. With dental visits at least twice a year, serious conditions like oral cancer can be discovered early when a person is more likely to recover.
Resolving Tooth Loss with Restoration Alternatives
While cavities can be repaired with fillings and sensitivity can be relieved with mouthwash, missing teeth need special attention. Any amount of tooth loss can cause the remaining teeth to shift, affecting the way a person bites, talks, and smiles.
To correct alignment issues and missing teeth, restorative options like full or partial dentures or bridges may need to be considered. What your dentist will suggest ultimately depends upon your lifestyle and needs. If there are a number of teeth that need to be replaced, partial dentures may be a better option than a fixed bridge, which is the better option when they are fewer teeth to replace.
Mini dental implants are a newer option that can be used to stabilize dentures and secure them in place. The implants are inserted along the jaw where teeth are missing, and act like the roots of natural teeth. Dentures are then snapped in on top of the implants and held firmly so they do not shift in the mouth. Full dental implants can support replacement teeth, such as those used in bridges, in healthy gums with sufficient bone density. Your dentist will be able to assess your individual situation and customize a plan to fit your needs if you are interested in this option.
Continue seeing your dentist regularly for care as you age. Having regular examinations will provide more options to prevent tooth loss or decay, provide a better understanding of restorative services, and allow early diagnosis of any serious conditions. To maintain long-term oral health, contact Arkansas Family Dental about our dental services for seniors in Little Rock.