While Geriatric Dentistry is not a recognized speciality by the Ontario Dental Association, it is a branch of dentistry that focuses on dental treatment for seniors. Physical dexterity, weakening cognitive abilities and medical conditions can make it challenging for some dentists to treat elderly patients. Geriatric Dentistry focuses on the diagnoses, management, prevention, and treatment of dental problems associated with age-related diseases.
For these reasons, dentists need to apply treatment techniques tailored to the specific needs of each elderly patient. In addition to age, certain physical disorders can impede regular brushing and flossing. Additionally, some medications and health considerations may also impact their oral health or regular treatment. Seniors are at risk for a variety of oral health issues. In this article, we have outlined common oral health problems that elderly patients may face.
Gum disease is a common oral health condition that may affect seniors. The condition can be aggravated by:
- Ill-fitting bridges or dentures
- Poor diet
- Food left in the teeth
- Certain disorders like diabetes and anemia
- Denture problems caused by Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, and sleeping with dentures are some factors that cause denture problems
Changes in the oral mucous membrane
The protective barrier function of the oral mucosa will deteriorate as an individual enters their senior years. Many seniors with a deteriorating oral mucous membrane are likely to be exposed to a variety of infections and chemicals that can enter the oral cavity. As a person ages, their oral mucosa (membrane lining on the inside of the mouth) thins, while the ability to heal wounds or regenerate tissue will also begin to slow down.
Changes in dentin and the consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages will lead to darkened teeth. The outer layer of the enamel will also weaken with age, allowing the deeper yellower dentin to peel through.
Why is regular Geriatric dental care necessary?
Older people require quality Geriatric dental care from qualified and experienced dentists. Dentists that work with Geriatric patients have extensive experience working with elderly patients and will ensure the optimal health of your teeth and gums.
The mouth is a reflection of an individual’s overall health and a Geriatric Dentist can help ensure there are no issues. They will understand the patients’ unique oral needs and be prepared for complications that may affect treatment. Geriatric Dentists are also familiar with common difficulties among senior patients and take great care to ensure your comfort throughout treatments and procedures.
There are many Geriatric Dentistry treatment options, including dental implants or dentures, tooth extractions for infected teeth, gum disease treatment, and early oral cancer screenings. Once a dentist examines your oral condition thoroughly, they will recommend the appropriate treatment based on their findings.
Kingsville Family Dental can help with your dental needs, including emergency services, Geriatric Dentistry, and much more. If you are looking for a reliable dentist near you in the Kingsville area, contact us today at 519-916-0151 to schedule an appointment!