Dental Care for Seniors
Dental care is important for patients of all ages. Maintaining a healthy and radiant smile is possible throughout your entire life. However, it is important to keep in mind that as we age, so do our teeth and as a result older patients may need extra care to ensure their oral health remains in good standing. At Polar Dental, we are committed to providing the best care available to all senior our patients. We offer treatment solutions for every oral health issue for seniors to guarantee that all our patients leave with a smile!
Senior Patients and Cavities
There are two main reasons why adults and seniors get cavities:
- Restorative fillings are not as smooth as the surfaces of natural teeth, and so bacteria and debris can sometimes become lodged within the edge of a filling resulting in tooth decay. If a restoration is damaged, part of the tooth becomes exposed and may also be more vulnerable to decay.
- Tooth grinding, along with years of brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede(pull away) from the teeth. Sometimes the gums will simply recede due to old age and genetics. Gum recession exposes the tooth's roots will are filled with nerve endings. Once exposed, these roots may cause the patient to experience sensitivity to hot or cold. In addition, tooth roots are naturally protected by gum tissue for a reason: they have no layer of enamel to protect them and so are much more vulnerable to cavities.
Senior Patients and Gum Disease
Gum Disease is a major oral health concern faced my many adults. Below we have listed a number of facts you should be aware of regarding gum disease. If you feel that you may have gum disease in any of its stages, contact your Toronto dentist to schedule an appointment.
- Gum disease can be painless
- Gum disease is more common in middle age than in old age
- Most of the time gum disease is a slow process that can be prevented with proper treatment. If allowed to evolve into its later stages, gum disease will result in tooth loss and structural bone damage.
Senior Patient Check-Ups
Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining oral health at all ages. As you age, you may require dentures or dental implants which will need to be monitored by your dentist to ensure that they are functioning properly and causing no discomfort. Patients who take medications, may experience a lack of saliva flow resulting in dry mouth or gum tissue growth. Staining is also more common in adult patients. As the enamel wears away with age, the yellow colored dentin found underneath the enamel is enabled to show through. Stains are also more prevalent due to cracks in the weakening enamel's surface. Ask your Polar Dental professional about our teeth whitening options to find out how your can keep your smile at it's brightest.
Caring for Natural Teeth
Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene go hand in hand. However, it is imperative that you continue to care for your teeth at home on a regular basis by brushing and flossing as recommended by your dentist.
Brushing and Flossing
Brush your teeth and least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Be sure to brush well, but not too aggressively as you may do more harm than good. Regular and consistent brushing effectively fights off and removes plaque, the unseen culprit of decay and gum disease.
Flossing removes debris and bacteria in between teeth that is left behind by your toothbrush. By not flossing, patients are neglecting to clean 1/3 of their tooth's surface. Floss at least once a day. You can even floss while watching TV or listening to music. Remember, flossing is only important for the teeth you plan on keeping.
Problems with Brushing and Flossing
Patients with arthritis and other health conditions may find it difficult to properly grasp a brushing and flossingcomfortably. At Polar Dental, we are dedicated to ensuring your oral health and comfort in and outside of our office. Here we have provided a list of techniques you may find helpful:
- Patients can make their toothbrush larger and therefore easier to maneuver by wrapping a sponge or some tinfoil around the handle.
- A bicycle grip may also be helpful to provide comfort if applied to the toothbrushes handle.
- Electric toothbrushes tend to be larger and therefore more comfortable.
- Plastic floss holders are available at your local drug store. Ask your Toronto dentist for more information.
- Dental tape is easier to hold onto as it is slightly wider than floss and may prove more helpful.
Senior Patients and False Teeth
With proper oral hygiene and regular visits to your Polar Dental office, your teeth will last you a lifetime. However, if you do lose a tooth it may be replaced with an artificial restoration. Failure to replace missing teeth can cause further damage and the remaining teeth to shift out of place to fill the space. Once teeth are out of alignment they become more difficult to clean and are more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. Tooth loss can also cause jaw problems. If you experience tooth loss, come visit your dentist to see which options are available for you.