Those over 65 who still have real teeth experience more tooth decay than their younger peers for a number of reasons. As people age, they become more susceptible to xerostomia (dry mouth), periodontal (gum) disease, and dental caries; and more sensitive to drugs such as analgesics and anesthetics, which are often used in dental treatments. Comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, medications they are taking, and physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments further contribute to potential dental issues.
These factors not only increase the likelihood of tooth decay, but also make treating these issues more complicated. Luckily, a number of restorative dentistry options exist to repair past damage and keep seniors smiling for years to come. Read on to learn about some of the most common restorative dental options for the elderly and special considerations to keep in mind for this age group.
Fillings are a common restorative dentistry procedure to treat cavities and fix teeth that have cracks. To treat cavities, your dentist clears away the damaged part of the tooth and then places the filling in that newly created space.
While seniors may need to get fillings to repair current damage, they will likely also need to get previous fillings examined. Over the years, fillings can deteriorate and lose their seating on teeth, leaving room for bacteria to creep in and cause decay. If your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold food and beverages, it may be a sign that your filling is past its prime. Be sure to get your fillings examined by a dentist regularly to avoid complications.
If a filling isn’t sufficient to address your tooth damage, your dentist may also recommend an inlay or onlay.
Crowns are a common restorative solution for tooth decay that is too serious for a filling, inlay, or onlay to fix. Crowns completely cover the visible part of the tooth to strengthen it, restore its function, and fix any issues with appearance, shape, or size. They can be made out of stainless steel, metal, resin, porcelain, or ceramic material.
Dental crowns last an average of 15 years, meaning that in addition to getting new crowns to repair damaged teeth, elderly individuals may need to get existing crowns replaced or repaired. This will depend on the type of material the crown is made of, how much erosion it has experienced, and the individual’s oral hygiene and habits.
We know that elderly patients have a hard time making it to the dentist. Don Sing Dental helps you avoid return visits by offering same-day crowns for quick and convenient treatment.
Elderly individuals with severe tooth decay or periodontal disease may find themselves with no other option but tooth extraction. Tooth extraction becomes increasingly complicated as patients get older, with comorbidities and medication side effects playing a part. Seniors may also take longer to heal and experience more pain and discomfort after a tooth extraction.
Dr. Don Sing thoroughly reviews patients’ current health, including comorbidities and any medications they are taking, and discusses proper aftercare before extracting teeth.
After having teeth removed, seniors may want to get dentures to replace them. Complete dentures are available for those who have no teeth left, and partial dentures for those with some remaining teeth.
Although dentures are a great solution for those who are missing teeth, they won’t fit perfectly forever without the right adjustments. As people age, their weight changes, in turn affecting the structure of their mouth and gums. Dentures that once fit perfectly can thus lose that perfect fit over time, making chewing difficult and even painful. Many seniors try to adapt to this by adjusting their diet, which often leads to malnutrition.
The easy solution to this is to bring your dentures to a trusted dentist when they start to fit poorly. Dr. Don Sing can make any necessary adjustments to your dentures, ensure they are not causing any irritation to the mouth, and fix issues related to regular wear and tear.