A person’s diet is the foundation of their health and wellbeing- but when eating becomes a problem, it can add another risk factor to those whose health may already be fragile. Seniors have special oral care needs which require special training and equipment.
People aged 65 and older have a much higher rate of tooth loss compared to younger people. Losing teeth can make eating difficult and can hurt a person’s self-esteem. There are a number of warning signs to look out for when tooth loss is imminent such as tooth sensitivity, discoloration of nearby gums, hardened tissue beneath the enamel and more. Making regular visit to an oral health care professional may be the best way to spot things like these early and to help seniors to keep their natural teeth for as long as possible.
Regardless of age, there are a number of options for replacing missing teeth after they have fallen out or been removed. Dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures are some of the most common examples of tools an orthodontist can use to replace lost teeth.
Dental implants cannot be done on every patient, but where they can be used they are possibly the most desirable solution for missing teeth. In order to receive these appliances, the patient must be able to tolerate the procedure, and they must have sufficiently healthy jaw bone tissue to sustain the anchor to which the false tooth will be attached.
Dental bridges are artificial teeth which are fused to their neighboring teeth rather than being anchored into the jaw. These appliances are made from a variety of materials depending on the patient’s budget and oral care needs. The orthodontist will perform some kind of alteration to the adjacent teeth such as resizing the tooth or attaching an additional piece of hardware.
Dentures are used when most or all of a patient’s teeth are no longer viable or do not produce the amount of bite to chew and eat properly. To create a complete set of dentures, an orthodontist will make a plaster copy of the patent’s entire mouth. This will be used to design and create a set of dentures that will fit the patient’s mouth as closely and comfortably as possible. Dentures have been in use for many years and the technology supporting this intervention has improved greatly over time. Today, many consider dentures to be the most elegant and easy to use remedy for elderly persons who have lost all their teeth- and wearing a full set of dentures can restore much of the confidence that a person can lose when they lose their teeth.
Oral Hygiene for Seniors
Due to their heightened sensitivity to tooth decay and other forms of damage, seniors must take extra special care of their teeth and mouths. Daily brushing, flossing, and oral sanitizing as directed by a dentist are critical. Special toothbrushes that accommodate the needs of seniors are available.
Seniors should visit their dentist at least once every three months, and they should learn all the warning signs of tooth loss, decay, and other dangers. Consult your oral health care provider for more information!