Growing older brings with it a variety of struggles, and one of them is oral health care. Elderly people sometimes face difficulties taking care of their teeth and gums, and aging mouths can develop problems. In fact, seniors often lose their teeth because they are unable to properly care for them or they neglect getting professional help.
Why is dental care hard for seniors?
Some of the main reasons that the elderly have trouble with oral care include:
- Arthritis or limited ability to manipulate and control their hands and arms, which can make brushing and flossing difficult.
- Dementia or memory lapses that can cause seniors to forget to care for their teeth and gums.
- Denture wearers may be inexperienced in proper care or neglect good cleaning practices.
How can dental care for seniors be improved?
Caregivers can help the elderly learn new techniques to preserve their oral health. Here are some useful tips to benefit seniors in their goal of a healthy mouth:
- Those with arthritis or other limiting conditions should try adaptations to make dental care easier. For example, attach a bicycle grip or wrap a washcloth around a toothbrush handle for easier grasping.
- Try an electric toothbrush, which may be easier to control than a manual one. They are also great for removing plaque and stimulating gums.
- Use floss holders or cleaners for between the teeth, which are available at drugstores to aid in dental cleaning.
- Ask the dentist about prescription mouthwashes or fluoride rinses to supplement regular brushing and flossing. These additions can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Ensure only products approved for dentures, such as denture powder or paste, are used for cleaning the appliances. Household cleaners can damage dentures.
- Create a chart to be placed near the sink area to check off each time dental hygiene tasks are performed, so that it’s easier for the elderly person to keep track of dental care.
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It is not uncommon for people to be ashamed of their smiles. Whether it is discoloration, crookedness, or misalignment, various dental conditions can make a person hesitant to smile. That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes into the picture. One popular procedure that cosmetic dentists perform to transform smiles is dental bonding.
The process involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the tooth and then hardening it with a special light to secure it. It is done in a single visit to the dentist in as little as half an hour. There is no advance preparation needed, and dental bonding does not require any special care afterwards other than normal oral hygiene.
A relatively simple and inexpensive option, dental bonding can repair chipped, decayed, or cracked teeth. It can also improve the appearance of stained or yellowed teeth.
Bonding is often considered a great option for improving a person’s smile in a quick and painless way. The resin material can be shaped and polished to look similar to adjacent teeth, making it a very natural remedy for imperfections.
Patients should keep in mind a few shortcomings to dental bonding. It is recommended for relatively minor imperfections and for areas that do not undergo a great deal of bite pressure. Therefore, bonding is better for front teeth instead of the back molars. Also remember that dental bonding does not as long-lasting as veneers or crowns. Other methods like those should be considered for more extensive repairs.Read More »
The ability to smile with confidence because you are happy with your teeth is a great asset. On the other hand, if you are embarrassed of teeth that are stained, cracked, or chipped it can be difficult to present a carefree smile. Dental veneers allow you to hide imperfections with your teeth so that you’ll be willing to smile every chance you get.
Veneers are very thin layers that cover your natural teeth. They are securely adhered to the fronts of your teeth, leaving behind them any embarrassing flaws. Some of the problems that veneers hide include:
- Discoloration that can’t be improved to your liking with the usual whitening methods
- Uneven teeth that are not uniform in size
- Worn teeth that have been damaged with chips or cracks
- Gaps in your smile that you’d like to simply hide instead of have other more extensive treatments like braces
Porcelain is the most popular material used to create veneers. It is durable and resists stains, allowing you to maintain your brand new smile without major concerns of damage or discoloration. Porcelain veneers are created in a laboratory before your dentist places them on your teeth. Another material option is composite resin, and is used more often for minor corrections. Many times these can be made in the dentist’s office instead of a laboratory. Your dentist will be able to help you decide which material is best for you.
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Gaps or holes in your smile caused by missing teeth can cause embarrassment and difficulty eating or speaking. Dental implants have been developed as a reliable and natural method of tooth replacement. It involves implanting an artificial root into the jaw so that it ultimately becomes part of your jawbone, and placing a crown on top to create a new tooth. The procedure has become very popular, but as with most things there are both good and bad qualities about the treatment. Consider these pros and cons as you make your decision whether implants are right for you.
- Look, feel, and function like real teeth
- Do not slip, even during eating and speaking
- No embarrassing sounds or messy pastes
- Don’t affect neighboring teeth
- Titanium material allows normal biting force
- Permanent restoration
- Restore confidence and youthful look
- Risks exist as with any surgery
- Pain, bruising, or swelling can occur at implant site
- Temporary bruising or swelling can occur to face and gums
- Damage to adjacent nerves may result in pain or numbness in the area
- Infections sometimes occur
- Requires several dental visits to complete the process
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