Dental care is an essential part of maintaining overall health—especially for seniors. Due to increased knowledge and understanding of dental health and care, some seniors are able to keep their natural teeth until later in life. But many are not as lucky.
Others use dentures out of need or preference. However, seniors may have more dental concerns, which would include problems in basic oral hygiene. So, what works best for seniors—dental care or dentures? This blog looks at the two to help you decide the most suitable option.
Common Dental Problems In Seniors
As your age increases, seemingly common dental issues may become more prevalent and persisting. These conditions include the following:
- Dry Mouth: Some types of therapy and medications can lead to a dry mouth because they may lower saliva production.
- Root Decay And Cavities: With age, the gum tissue starts to recede, exposing the root surface of the teeth. And because the root of the teeth isn’t covered with enamel, they’re more susceptible to decay.
- Increased sensitivity: Gum recession exposes teeth areas unprotected by enamel, increasing sensitivity to cold, hot, sour, or sweet things. However, sensitivity can signal other dental conditions such as cavities or cracked teeth.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease is more prevalent among people over the age of 40. It comes from poor oral hygiene, conditions like heart disease or diabetes, and a poor diet. Regular smokers and alcoholics are also more vulnerable to gum disease.
- Dentures: Although quite helpful, some seniors may have difficulty maintaining them. Fortunately, you can find clinics near you, like emergency dental repairs Sydney, for example.
Dental Care For Seniors
Older adults might have difficulties keeping their teeth clean, particularly if they have issues affecting their motor skills, such as arthritis. Holding the toothbrush and keeping it steady enough to clean the teeth can be painstakingly difficult due to stiff, weak, or painful joints. The process of toothbrushing can become complicated and may eventually require assistance.
However, using an electric toothbrush and enlarging its handle by wrapping it with an adhesive tape or elastic bandage can make brushing a bit manageable. You can also consider buying special toothbrushes, floss holders, and toothpaste dispensers. If the gums bleed easily, ask a dentist for toothbrush recommendations that have softer bristles.
Dentures For Seniors
Fortunately, there are alternatives to maintaining natural teeth for seniors. Among these alternatives is using dentures, which comes in two types:
- Traditional Dentures
These are removable false teeth that are fixed on the gums. They are designed with a plastic base that resembles the ordinary human gum and stays in place by muscle control and sanction. If needed, adhesives or creams can be used to secure them in place. They need to be taken out before sleeping to allow the gums to rest.
There are conventional dentures that a denture clinic Sydney can make specifically for you after you lose all your teeth. The dentist can create a mold that would perfectly fit your mouth. Unfortunately, this type of denture requires you to wait for up to three months for your gums to heal. That is if you just underwent a tooth extraction.
However, there are also immediate dentures that don’t require you to wait for gums to heal. Your dentist can put them as soon as you remove your natural teeth. The downside is that the fit may not be as accurate because the dimensions of your mouth change when you take out your teeth. You’ll need to take them for adjustments frequently.
These are dentures that the dentist positions using a supporting structure, which is a series of dental implants in most cases. You can have either partial or complete dentures. The dentists surgically implant titanium posts to the jawbone to hold the overdentures in place. Overdentures are either fixed or removable.
Fixed overdentures are those that you have to visit your denture Sydney dentist to take them out. The removable ones are often called snap-on dentures. By large, overdentures offer more comfort and are more secure than traditional dentures. With these types of dentures, you don’t have to worry about jawbone deterioration.
Titanium posts are excellent for bone stimulation, preventing progressive bone loss in the long run. The upper overdentures are also shaped in a way that doesn’t affect your speech or taste, unlike traditional dentures. However, this would cost more than traditional dentures.
Takeaway Generally, dentures can offer more benefits to seniors. But if you still have your natural teeth intact and you can take care of them properly, good old toothbrushing, washing, and flossing work just fine. However, it’s essential to visit the dentist regularly for routine checkups and advice.