The aging process can pose a number of challenges. Getting older isn’t without its joys, of course, but the body must adjust to the realities of advanced age. That goes for the hips, back, and knees just as much as it does for your teeth and gums.
The team at our East Honolulu family dentistry center would like to consider some of the most common dental problems that affect middle-aged and elderly patients. We’ll also mention how dentists can help address these issues. So rest assured: there is always something that can be done.
Natural Wear and Tear
Biting and chewing for decades can lead your teeth to be worn down. Chips, cracks, and revealed enamel may all be issues you experience because of this long-term wear. There are many restorative dentistry procedures that can help repair the damage done with age, including the use of fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns.
Tooth Decay and Enamel Erosion
With age, wear and tear is not the only problem to consider. Tooth decay may become more of an issue as you get older. The same is true with enamel erosion, which occurs when the pH of the mouth is more acidic. Dental restorations and proper preventive care can help with these dental problems.
Along with tooth decay, problems with gum disease are more likely. This is a bacterial infection of the soft tissues of the mouth. These issues with periodontal health can last for years, and someone may suffer from untreated gum disease for a long time, leading to major health problems. Thankfully gum disease can be managed with proper oral hygiene and antiseptic treatments.
The loss of gum tissue reveals more of the root structure of the teeth, causing tooth sensitivity and potentially even loose teeth. This may be the result of gum disease or could be caused by teeth grinding, smoking, and other kinds of wear and tear. Gum grafts are typically used to treat gum recession, and may be an essential part of improving dental health and aesthetics.
All of the previously listed problems can lead to the loss of teeth. Sometimes just one tooth may be missing, while other times the tooth loss can be more extensive. Dentists have many options for addressing tooth loss in older patients, from the use of bridges and dentures to implant dentistry. The right option for you will depend on the extent of your tooth loss as well as your budget.
Years of drinking coffee, tea, and wine will cause your smile to be stained or discolored. These issues are made worse if you are a smoker or use chewing tobacco. Treating tooth discoloration may involve cosmetic procedures that brighten and whiten the teeth, such as teeth whitening, dental bonding, or porcelain veneers.
With advanced age, most patients notice issues with dry mouth. This can lead to problems chewing, swallowing, and speaking, but dry mouth is more serious than that. For one, saliva is an essential part of the remineralization of the teeth, which keeps your smile strong and health. Dentists have many options to address dry mouth depending on the root cause of the problem.
As people grow older, the risks of cancer increase. With oral cancers, these risks are heightened if the patient has a family history of cancer or if they used tobacco products. During dental visits, our team will be sure to perform oral cancer screenings. Early diagnosis and treatment are keys to successfully fighting the disease.
Speak with a Skilled Dentist
For more information about advanced dental care issues and how we can improve your smile, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.