Senior Dental Care
As our bodies age, so do our teeth. Dental patients over 60 have unique dental needs and should take added care when considering their oral health. It is essential to visit your dentist bi-annually as a senior. During your appointment your dentist will check for:
- Signs of Oral Cancer
- Damage from Bruxism
- Chipped or Cracked Teeth
- Worn or Brittle Teeth
- Dry Mouth Symptoms
- Broken crowns, fillings or bridges
- The Need for Denture Repair or Dentures
Velescope Oral Cancer Exam
During your routine dental exam, we will check your mouth for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer occurs more frequently in patients over 40 and it is more common in those who drink heavily, smoke or chew tobacco. Oral cancer can be fatal, especially if it goes undetected. Early detection and treatment are the keys to fighting this deadly disease. When the signs of oral cancer are recognized and treated early, patients are much more likely to successfully finish treatment and go into remission.
Oral cancer can develop anywhere in the oral cavity. This includes the tonsils, salivary glands, the back of your throat, tonsils, gums, and lips. We use a tool called the VELscope Vx to help detect signs of oral cancer. This light helps your dentist identify the healthy tissues in your mouth as well as areas that show signs of abnormal cell growth and cancerous disease. Most often these patches of abnormal tissue are not visible to the human eye, that is why the VELscope Vx light is an essential aspect of oral cancer screenings.
Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a habit that can severely damage your teeth. It is particularly dangerous because often, bruxism is done subconsciously. Patients often grind their teeth while sleeping, or subconsciously while they are stressed. Untreated, there are many consequences to teeth grinding. Your teeth will be worn down, exposing the fragile nerve. This can cause painful tooth sensitivity and reduce your ability to properly chew and bite food. The teeth can chip due to the pressure from grinding and lead to broken fillings and worn enamel. Head, jaw, and neck pain are common signs that you grind your teeth, between 30-40 million Americans have this bad habit. Your dentist will look for signs of teeth grinding and can help treat it with custom-fitted trays that protect your teeth at night.
Cracked teeth can have many different potential causes, but they are commonly a result of bruxism. The pressure from tooth grinding can create small cracks that form above and below your gums. If you feel pain when chewing or your teeth feel more sensitive, this is a sign of cracked teeth. Let your dentist know so the cause can be treated, and the damage can be repaired before fractures occur.
Worn & Brittle Teeth
Older, worn-down teeth can leave you vulnerable to breakage. Overtime your enamel naturally becomes thin. Worn or brittle teeth, combined with a weakened enamel can cause the tooth roots to be exposed; which can expose the nerve of the tooth as well. Worn or brittle teeth can cause severe tooth sensitivity and put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. At Today’s Dentistry, we treat worn teeth with in-office fluoride treatment as well as fluoride toothpaste for patients to take home.
Brittle teeth are a natural part of aging, like your calcium-rich bones, they become weakened and vulnerable to impact. Brittle teeth can also be a sign of more serious underlying health issues and vitamin deficiencies.
There are many ways to protect brittle teeth. Many patients choose dental crowns, veneers or Lumineers. All of these treatments provide a strong barrier that can help support the teeth during daily functions such as biting or chewing food. They act like a new, strong layer of enamel to protect the brittle tooth beneath.
Dry mouth can have multiple causes, however as we age over 50, it is common to produce less saliva. Dry mouth is also a common side effect of different types of medications as well as stress. With less saliva, oral bacteria can multiply which leaves teeth more vulnerable to cavities and decay. Dry mouth can also cause your gums to become sensitive and inflamed. At our clinic, we treat dry mouth with prescription oral rinses to help protect the teeth and gums.
Damanged or Broken Bridges
Fixed bridges rely on support from your neighboring natural teeth, or dental implants to stay in place. If the supporting teeth become weak or infected, it can lead to a damaged or broken bridge. A healthy bite requires strong support, and our clinic had years of experience fixing and replacing broken dental bridges. In the past, dental bridges were made of metal, and some patients still have existing metal bridges. If you are concerned about the aesthetics of your metal bridges, we can make modern, ceramic bridge replacements in order to help the bridge blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. Visit us if you think your bridge may be broken or damaged so that we can repair and replace your bridges.
Dentures have become more comfortable for patients, with the help of modern dental technology. They are an excellent permanent or temporary form of tooth replacement for patients suffering from the effects of tooth loss. Dentures can be a permanent and stable tooth replacement when used in conjunction with dental implants. Dental implants can help to secure dentures in place. Our team can also provide partial dentures for patients who do not need to replace a full mouth of teeth. These dentures are removable and are secured to your gums.
If you have concerns about your teeth and dental care as you age, contact Today’s Dentistry our specialized dental team can help you find the best solution.