Senior adults tend to neglect their oral health as they get older, but it’s actually even more important to take care of the mouth at that age. There are some unique dangers to oral health that begin to occur, as well as dental care practices that seniors should perform regularly.
Oral health risks for seniors
- Gum disease – receding gums are a common problem for seniors. Roots can become exposed and root decay is a hazard. Signs of root decay include notches around the gum line or a yellowish color to the area.
- Dry mouth – medications can cause a lack of saliva. This creates an environment for cavities and other dental problems.
- Lack of fluoride – teeth need fluoride to help them remain strong and prevent tooth decay. Seniors should consider getting fluoride treatments at the dentist, and drinking fluoridated tap water instead of bottled water.
- Tooth stains – plaque buildup leads to yellowed, stained teeth. To avoid plaque accumulation, consistent brushing and flossing is necessary.
- Diet – seniors tend to eat softer foods as they grow older, which may lack important nutrients and have too many sugars and carbohydrates. Taking daily vitamins helps, as well as making good diet choices for oral health.
- Arthritis – many seniors have arthritis that reduces mobility and makes it harder to perform tasks like brushing teeth and flossing.
Dental practices for seniors
- Checkups – maintain dental visits every six months. It is vital for good oral health, since problems can be identified early enough to prevent extensive treatment or further complications.
- Type of toothbrush – seniors may consider using an electric toothbrush instead of a standard manual one. They are easy to use and especially helpful to those with arthritis or decreased mobility.
- Denture care – many denture wearers use a temporary repair kit from the local drugstore. However, professional denture checkups are recommended to ensure dentures fit properly and are maintained well.
- Dental implants – seniors with missing teeth may ask the dentist about dental implants instead of dentures, which provide a very natural feeling and appearance.
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When you consider a makeover, you probably think about hair stylists, wardrobe consultants, plastic surgeons, or dermatologists. A dentist might not pop into your mind, but a cosmetic dentist is exactly who you need to see for a smile makeover. There is a process for smile makeovers that most patients usually go through in order to see the makeover through from start to finish.
First, find a cosmetic dentist you like and trust. At the consultation, you will provide your complete medical history, list your concerns about your smile, and state your goals. Your dentist will consider your facial features, eyes, skin tone, and lips as you discuss the objectives for your smile.
Your dentist will perform an oral examination to identify the reasons your smile is like it is, and ways to improve it. Your bite will be considered because that plays a major role in the appearance and function of your mouth. This is an ideal time to ask questions or raise concerns that may impact decisions about your smile makeover.
After your dentist has carefully examined your mouth and discussed your concerns and objectives, it is time to create a treatment plan. Your dentist will explain the procedures or treatments that are recommended to help you achieve the smile results you would like. You will also learn about the process for each procedure, recovery, and other aspects so that together you can make an informed decision about pursuing treatment.
This may be the part of your smile makeover that is the most difficult, but a necessary step towards getting your end results. Any preliminary treatments will be done, and temporary restorations may be implemented so you can get a feel for your new smile. Any needed adjustments will be made in this stage before final restorations are performed.
The most exciting part of the process is completing it. Final restorations will be placed, and you will learn about maintenance and care. Minor adjustments will be made, and follow-up appointments will be scheduled as needed. Then it’s time to enjoy your new smile!
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Cancer patients have enough to worry about that adding their oral health onto their list of concerns seems unfair. However, the truth remains that patients being treated with chemotherapy are at greater risk for dental problems. Cancer patients must be careful to practice good hygiene and focus on protecting their oral health during treatment.
Why does chemotherapy increase your dental risks?
The process of chemotherapy involves sending toxic chemicals into the body to kill cancer cells. Treatment is hard on the body, often causing problems with hair growth, digestion, and bone marrow. The immune system is compromised, making it important for patients to take precautions to protect the body from other illnesses.
What can happen to your mouth?
Chemotherapy treatment makes the body susceptible to infection and weakens the bones, including the jaws and teeth. Weakened teeth are at greater risk for decay, and are often unable to fight off dangerous bacteria. Infection is able to take hold and spread quickly, providing the ability to damage your oral health much faster and more seriously than people who are not undergoing chemotherapy.
How can you prevent problems?
There are some measures patients can take to protect their oral health during treatment. Brush regularly with dentist-recommended toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Also remember to floss daily. Use an antibacterial mouth was to kill germs and clean the mouth. Avoid products that decrease the production of saliva, which helps to wash the mouth and eliminate bacteria. Chemotherapy treatment doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your oral health as long as you pay attention to keeping your mouth healthy.
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One of the most popular treatments in cosmetic dentistry is veneers. These thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin are bonded to the fronts of your teeth to hide the flaws of your real teeth. They look natural, resist stains, and are a durable way to restore smiles. Veneers offer a solution for patients with a variety of dental problems.
Teeth that are broken or chipped can be hidden behind veneers, fully restoring your smile.
Stained or yellowed teeth may result from a number of things. Some discoloration such as from foods or age can be improved with teeth whitening treatments. However, stains resulting from things like drugs, large resin fillings, or too much fluoride may not respond to whitening methods. Veneers provide the ability to choose the shade of white you like and get your bright smile back.
Sometimes teeth are just too small for a person’s facial features. It is difficult for orthodontists to close gaps between teeth that are too small, and gum recession is also often an issue with small teeth. Veneers can take care of both of these problems.
When the edges of teeth become worn, it can make you look older than you actually are. Veneers can lengthen teeth that are shortened with wear so that your smile looks brand new.
Misaligned and crooked teeth can be hidden under dental veneers. This gives your smile a uniform and appealing look.
Veneers can be provided simply for cosmetic purposes to change the shape and appearance of your teeth. You and your cosmetic dentist can design the veneers together so that your teeth might look more curved, flatter, bigger, or longer as you choose.
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