Oral Health Issues And Procedures For Seniors

As you age, your teeth will naturally begin to experience more problems. This occurs for several reasons, and it may require getting some extra dental work completed. There are several types of issues seniors often experience with their teeth when they age, but there are also numerous types of dental procedures that may help with these issues.

Why Teeth Wear Out With Age

There are several common reasons seniors experience more dental problems than people that are younger, and here are some of these reasons:

  • Use – As you use your teeth, they will naturally wear away. While this takes time, eventually teeth start losing their enamel, and this presents risks. Good oral health habits may slow this process down.
  • Bone loss – Seniors are more likely to experience bone loss as they age, and losing bone mass can have negative effects on teeth and the jawbone that hold the teeth in place.
  • Dry mouth – A lot of seniors also suffer from xerostomia, which is also called dry mouth. Dry mouth is an uncomfortable problem to have, but it is also a condition that can lead to an increase in tooth decay.

These are some of the reasons seniors will often have more problems with their teeth.

Common Dental Problems Seniors Experience

As you get older and lose enamel and bone mass and if you suffer from dry mouth, you may have the following issues with your teeth:

  • Cavities
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Gaps from missing teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Discoloration of the teeth

While people of all ages can experience these issues, people who are older will be more prone to all of these. These issues can affect your speech, ability to eat, and self-esteem. If you have any of these issues, it's important to know that a dentist can fix most of them for you. You may need to visit a regular dentist to have some of the problems fixed, but you could also go to a cosmetic dentist for other issues.

Dental Procedures That Can Help

The first step in having a nicer and healthier smile is finding out exactly what work is needed in your mouth, and your regular dentist can help you fix those issues. This may include getting cavities filled or having root canals completed for teeth with deep cavities. Your regular dentist may also want to use dental crowns to fix some of your teeth.

For issues that are cosmetic, you may want to find out from a cosmetic dentist what can be done to make your teeth look nicer. This type of dentist may recommend the following procedures:

  • Dental veneers – These are often used on the front teeth to make the teeth whiter, to fill in gaps, or to fix problems with teeth that are too small or the wrong size.
  • Whitening – The best way to get whiter teeth is through teeth-whitening services; however, this may not be a good option if you have dental crowns or veneers. The whitening solution may not be able to whiten veneers or crowns, so you may have different colored teeth if you have this done.
  • Composite bonding – An alternative to teeth-whitening services is composite bonding. This involves placing a white material on your teeth as a way of making them whiter, and it can be done to all your teeth.
  • Bridges or implants – A cosmetic dentist may also recommend filling in any gaps you have with dental bridges or implants. This will improve your ability to chew and talk, and it could also help with your self-esteem.

If you are beginning to experience a lot of problems with the way your teeth look, act, or feel, you should visit a dentist for additional info about your options for fixing all the issues.