Common Dental Conditions in Seniors
By Dr. David Wyse on February 17, 2020
Dr. Jay W. Chrisman and Dr. David D. Wyse are here to help all members of your family with their dental health needs. This is why they tailor all of their restorative, general, and cosmetic dentistry procedures to the age of a patient. For older patients in particular, they have unique dental health needs that have to be addressed.
The team at our Bloomington, IL family dentistry center would like to go over some of the common dental problems that seniors face. We’ll briefly mention treatment options for each of these dental conditions as well.
As people get older, tooth loss becomes more likely. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, around 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth; 36 million Americans have no teeth at all. Treating tooth loss may involve the use of dentures, bridges, or dental implants.
Over time, the gums may recede from the gumline, revealing more of the underlying root structure of the teeth. This increases your risk of tooth loss, tooth decay, and other serious issues. Gum recession can be dealt with through gum grafting, a type of soft tissue oral surgery.
When you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, the jawbone will naturally lose density since there is no root structure to support. This can result in further tooth loss and other health problems. If the bone loss is serious, it’s possible to use a bone graft to replace the missing bone density.
Gum disease is the bacterial infection of the gum tissue, which becomes a major risk for people later in life. There are different levels of gum disease, from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. The use of antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash can go a long way toward managing the bacterial infection.
Tooth Discoloration and Stains
It should come as no surprise that years of smoking, drinking coffee, and having tea will eventually take its toll on the look of your smile. This is why many elderly patients have discolored teeth. Thankfully these problems can be dealt with through cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as bonding and whitening.
Cavities and advanced tooth decay are a worry for patients of all ages, though it can be much worse among people of advanced age. Over time, minor cavities can grow, leading to serious structural issues with the teeth. Placing fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns can help treat these issues.
Much like tooth decay, fractures can seriously affect the health of your teeth. This could mean small cracks or chips in tooth structure that become worse with long-term wear and tear. As with cavities, the use of dental restorations is ideal for repairing the damaged tooth structure.
Root Canal Infections
Inside of each tooth is a bundle of soft tissue known as dental pulp. Major cavities or fractures could result in bacteria accessing this pulp chamber, resulting in the infection of a tooth. When a root canal infection occurs, a person should undergo endodontic therapy, which will remove the infected pulp.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located at the juncture between the lower jaw and the cranium. It’s one of the most complicated joints in the entire body. With age, issues with arthritis and long-term wear can result in a dysfunction or disorder or normal TMJ function. Numerous treatments can address this issue, from non-invasive procedures to surgery.
Saliva production tends to slow down among patients as they get older. That can lead to worsening gum disease and tooth decay while also making it more difficult to chew and speak. We can check on the salivary glands if they are blocked and recommend artificial saliva products that can help make life easier.
Speak with a Skilled Cosmetic and Restorative Dentist
If you want to learn more about advanced dental care for seniors, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. You can reach the team at Wyse Family & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (309) 663-6393.
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“I love my "new teeth." I feel so much better about my smile. The staff at Dr. Chrisman's office was very friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone looking for excellent dental care.” Jennifer B