One of the biggest mistakes a dentist sees his patients make during these years failing to replace teeth that may no longer be viable and have to be extracted. For what ever reason the extraction occurs, it is imperative that the space left behind be filled as soon as possible. Far from being only a matter of cosmetics, the drifting of adjacent teeth can cause further damage to overall oral health. Crooked teeth caused by the extracted tooth space can be hard to clean and will also weaken supporting structures. There are three options available for this problem. Fixed bridges are a good stable option if the surrounding teeth are in good health as this method of replacement involves “anchoring” the bridge to adjacent teeth. Another option is a removable appliance, sometimes still referred to as dentures, though, that is a term normally thought to apply to an entire set of manufactured teeth. Removable appliances are probably the most economical. The third option, and the most popular, especially for patients under the age of seventy, is a dental implant. This option has an artificial root implanted into the patients jaw to replace the missing tooth with a life-like manufactured tooth. This option is the most aesthetically pleasing of the choices but is also the most expensive, time-consuming and invasive. And that will bring us to the importance of keeping our original set of teeth with good oral hygiene and regular visits to your family dentist and cleanings by your family dental team.
Fifty percent of all seniors had no natural teeth remaining just a few decades ago. That statistic is now down to twenty seven percent. This is positive proof that regular care should provide that we can all keep our natural teeth for life, providing we take the time and make the necessary effort. The importance of oral care stretches far beyond keeping our natural teeth, however, as recent studies show a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. People with severe periodontal disease face as much as a double risk of heart disease and recent studies show an increased possibility of stroke as well. Bacterial endocarditis can be a direct result of oral infection. Regular periodontal treatments by your family dentist are essential to prevention of adverse affects of gum disease to your overall health.
Another problem that can occur at the later stages of life is dry mouth. Again, keeping your family dental team apprised of your medications can be helpful. Common medications for depression, high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to the condition of dry mouth. As a matter of fact, there are 400 medications that are known to cause dry mouth but blame can also be assigned to the natural ageing process. While this seems of small consequences overall, dry mouth causes an increase in the gum recession that already can be a problem at mature ages. This leaves the root areas more susceptible to cavities that are much more problematic on these softer surfaces of the teeth due to a quicker rate of decay. Be sure to talk to your family dentist and dental team about the problem of dry mouth should it arise. Awareness is always a valuable tool in prevention of damage to oral and general health. Some of the suggestions you may be given are to avoid dry salty foods, avoid alcohol and alcohol based mouthwashes, rinse mouth frequently with water and increase liquid intake. Also you may want to take advantage of products on the market that are specially formulated for the problem of dry mouth such as toothpastes, chewing gum and mouth washes, an example being Biotene products which are widely recommended..
Some of the challenges in the later years may be lack of self administered care due to hardships presented by arthritis or dementia. Help and counseling can be provided by a family dentist whether it is for you or someone in your family for which you are providing care. The dental team’s knowledge of the patient’s medical history is an asset not to be underestimated.
The later adult years in life will hopefully be joyful and healthy ones. Often a person’s oral health is a good indicator of their general health. The following are things to keep in mind for these years:
Extracted tooth replacement is very important to keep remaining teeth healthy.
Our teeth should last us our lifetime with proper care of teeth and gums alike and lack of care can cause many more health problems than previously understood.
Natural problems, such as dry mouth, can occur in the aging process. Medications can contribute to this condition, but armed with new knowledge and with the help of some new products on the market the effects can be minimized.
Your family dentist can help with counseling and information should special challenges arise. Be sure to keep the dental team apprised of any debilitating conditions.