Do Seniors Require Specialized Dental Care?
Dental exams allow our doctors to look for early stages of dental problems. Patients can save money by treating tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and other oral health problems before they cause significant damage.
Many dental problems are age-related, which makes dental exams for seniors incredibly important. If you are 65 or older, one of our dentists, Dr. Clifford Degel or Dr. Carmen Every-Degel, will look for signs of worn or damaged prosthetics and other age-related dental problems. Astoria Dental Group serves Queens, NY, Long Island, NY, and NYC.
What Makes Senior Dental Exams Different?
Your senior dental exam will be performed similarly to other dental exams. Either Dr. Degel or Dr. Every-Degel will discuss any dental-related symptoms that you may be experiencing. A visual examination of your teeth and gums will be performed using a gloved hand, and x-rays or digital images will be taken to look for signs of oral cancer and other dental problems.
The main difference between dental exams and senior dental exams relates to the types of dental problems that one of our doctors will be looking for. Many oral health problems are age-related.
Worn or Loose Prosthetics
A damaged or ill-fitting prosthetic can cause serious problems for your oral health. If your crown, bridge, or denture is not properly positioned, it can cause misalignment of your jaw that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.
Worn or damaged prosthetics or restorations can also place you at greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease. During your dental exam for seniors, one of our doctors will check the strength and stability of your restorations and prosthetics to ensure that they are functioning properly.
Side Effects of Medications
Seniors are more likely to take medications that cause dry mouth (xerostomia). Impaired saliva production can lead to tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in maintaining pH balance and mitigating the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth. If you experience symptoms of dry mouth, let one of our dentists know. Changes in habits or diet can reduce xerostomia symptoms and lower your risk of tooth decay.
Unfortunately, enamel wear is a cumulative process. Over decades of adult life, chewing and normal wear will leave your teeth more susceptible to developing cavities. More than 90 percent of seniors have one or more treated or untreated dental caries, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Gum disease is a common dental problem among adults age 65 and older. Untreated gum disease can lead to gum recession and even tooth loss. To prevent or treat gum disease, your dental exam may include a professional cleaning to remove tartar from your teeth. Some seniors can benefit from having regular dental cleanings at an interval determined by one of our doctors.
Schedule Your Senior Dental Exam Today
Seniors are at higher risk of serious dental problems. The good news is that our older patients can maintain optimal oral health by scheduling regular visits for exams and cleanings. During your exam, one of our doctors will look for age-related dental problems that you may not have noticed.
To schedule your next exam, please contact our office online or call (718) 278-1123.