Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Dental Care
5. Is there anything that can be done to make my loose teeth more secure?
First, visit a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the gums and the supporting bones of the teeth (both natural and man-made teeth). He or she will examine your condition, review your oral hygiene practices, and discuss your medical history. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, can contribute to the problem of loose teeth.
6. How does long-term smoking impact oral health?
For one, smoking increases your risk of oral cancer. Other oral health consequences include delayed healing following tooth extraction and periodontal treatment, increased bone loss within the jaw, bad breath, and tooth discoloration.
7. Can dentists treat the elderly with moderate dementia?
The ideal time to take care of all necessary dental treatments is soon after the person has been diagnosed with dementia. This way, only easier maintenance treatments will be all that is needed as the person ages. However, the elderly with moderate levels of dementia can be treated and can receive anesthesia. Setting a dental appointment early in the day, when the person with dementia is most alert, may be best. Also, the caregiver needs to communicate to the person with dementia that he or she is going to the dentist and state the reason for the visit.
8. If an older person has few or no dental problems or even no teeth, does he or she need to see the dentist?
Even if you do not have teeth or only have had a few dental problems, it is wise -- especially as you age -- to visit your dentist at least once a year for a comprehensive oral exam. At this visit your dentist can look for signs of oral cancer as well as for any other oral health or medical problems in the mouth, head, and neck areas.
9. My dentures don't feel as comfortable as they once did. What should I do?
Your gums and the bone supporting them changes shape as you age, so your dentures may begin to feel loose.
First, never try to change the shape of your dentures yourself in the hopes of making them fit better -- you could end up causing irreparable damage to the dentures.
Because dentures are made to fit perfectly, if you do feel a looseness, chances are your dentures will need to be adjusted to make them fit properly again as your mouth shape changes. See your dentist as soon as possible. In an emergency, use a denture adhesive to keep your dentures stable until your appointment.