Dental care for seniors involves unique considerations. Seniors are more likely to suffer from a host of oral health issues resulting from the natural aging process, their inability to receive proper oral health care due to financial constraints (no dental insurance) or their inability to provide adequate dental hygiene care for themselves.
These factors, combined with the limited dental benefits provided by state aid programs for the aged, blind or disabled, leave many seniors at risk of ignoring tooth decay and tooth infection until there is no alternative but tooth extraction – which is the only dental procedure covered by many state aid programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.
Tooth Loss, Periodontal Disease and Other Dental Concerns for Seniors
Prior to tooth loss, seniors may experience tooth sensitivity or discoloration due to a loss of enamel and dentin (hard, calcareous tissue beneath the enamel), or root deterioration caused by gum recession. Seniors are more prone to periodontal disease (gum disease) resulting from improper dental hygiene practices, poor diet, ill-fitting dental appliances and/or diseases such as cancer or diabetes. In fact, the supporting bone structure for the teeth, including the jaw, may shift, which can play havoc on a senior’s bite and may contribute to tooth decay. Seniors are also more likely to suffer from inflammation of gum tissue, dry mouth syndrome (often caused by medications) or oral thrush (a fungal disease causing ulcers and whitish spots on membranes of the mouth due to its effect on the immune system).
Dental Hygiene for Seniors
- Brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash properly to maintain dental hygiene, as instructed by your dentist.
- Look into special toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
- Know the warning signs that indicate your mouth, teeth or gums may be in jeopardy, including tooth sensitivity, teeth grinding, pain, mouth sores, bumps, swelling, loose teeth, jaw popping or clicking, difficulty quenching thirst, swallowing or chewing (dry mouth syndrome).
- Visit your dentist as often as he or she recommends for regular dental hygiene checkups.
- Maintain dental appliances such as dentures and dental bridges properly.
- Consider seeing your dentist before and after surgery.
- Tell your dentist about any medications that you are taking or changes to medication.
- If brushing and flossing are difficult for you, try to elongate the toothbrush with tongue depressors or something similar, or ask for assistance. You may also try using a soft washcloth or gauze to remove debris from the teeth, rinsing frequently. Use this method until you are able to brush your teeth again. People suffering from arthritis or a similar medical condition that limits manual dexterity can try inserting the back end of a toothbrush into a standard tennis ball for better maneuverability. Your dentist may recommend other such innovations designed to make the practice of oral hygiene simple and effective.
Call (972) 442-6879 today to schedule appointments for the entire family. Out-of-town guests and their children are always welcome at our friendly dental office, located at 345 W. FM 544, Suite 100B, Wylie, TX 75094
At Wylie Smiles, we understand your time is valuable. That is why we are proud to offer a full spectrum of general dentistry services to Wylie, TX and the surrounding area that meets just about any need and fits any budget.
Maintaining a healthy mouth is essential – not only for aesthetics but for your overall health. Did you know that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease? Gum disease can increase your risk for conditions like stroke, heart attack, and even preterm labor.
Regularly seeing a dentist is one way to help keep your mouth and teeth in great shape. Preventative care such as dental exams and routine cleanings will allow your dentist to take a closer look at your teeth and gums. Generally, these basic exams will also include x-rays, which lets the dentist see what’s going on below the surface, like cavities. Once we know how everything looks, the dentist can recommend treatments, if necessary.
We pride ourselves on providing the very best care if you do need something such as a filling, root canal, extraction, or advanced cleaning to slow the advancement of tooth and gum diseases. We offer the best state-of-the-art technology in a calming environment so you can feel confident in allowing us to be part of your oral health team.
Pediatric dentistry is another area in which we specialize. Our staff understands that going to the dentist can be scary at first, and we strive to make your child’s experience a positive one. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children visit the dentist by age one, or within six months of getting their first tooth. For most children, their first tooth typically comes in around six months old. Even though children lose their primary (“baby”) teeth, these teeth impact things like speech development and proper chewing. They also set the stage for their secondary teeth later on. It is crucial to ensure these primary teeth are in good shape from the beginning so your child can maintain a healthy smile as they grow.
In addition to these general dentistry services, we also treat emergencies. Rest assured we will do everything we can to take care of you as soon as possible. Dental emergencies include things such as chipped teeth, severe toothache, and lost teeth, to name a few. Please call our office right away if you are experiencing a dental emergency, and visit our Dental Emergencies page for more information.
Please visit our Services menu for more details about all the ways we can help you. If you have any questions, or to make an appointment fill out appointment form or don’t hesitate to call us at (972) 442-6879 !