Oral Health Tips for Seniors
No matter your age, good dental hygiene is important in minimizing the chance of cavities and other oral health problems. As you age, it becomes even more critical that you care for your teeth. Even more so, if you have a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes. Art of Dentistry, is here to help you prevent oral health problems throughout every stage of life. Below are just a few of our oral health tips for seniors and caring for your teeth as you age.
Maintain regular dental visits
Getting your teeth and gums checked regularly is very important, even if you wear dentures, catching any oral health problems early and helping prevent future issues. Keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t pay for routine dental care so you may want to look into private dental insurance.
Brush, floss, and rinse daily
Brushing and flossing each day with a fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash removes plaque from your teeth and reduces the chances of tooth decay or gum disease.
Watch for changes in your mouth
Your risk of getting oral cancer increases with age. If you see any spots, lumps, white or red patches, or if you’re experiencing difficulty swallowing or chewing, numbness on your tongue, or swelling of your jaw—contact us right away.
According to the CDC “smoking tobacco products (including cigarettes and cigars) causes almost nine of every 10 cases of lung cancer, but smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body”, including the mouth and throat.
Ask your doctor about dry mouth
Dry mouth is the result of not having enough saliva to keep your mouth wet, and makes it harder to talk, eat, and swallow. If your medication is causing dry mouth, ask your doctor if there is any substitution that doesn’t produce dry mouth.
Care for your dentures
Dentures require special care, including using a deep-cleaning solution to soak off food remnants from the denture. Dentures can make life easier for many seniors, but you have to keep up with their care.
Caring for your teeth as you age doesn’t have to be challenging! We’re here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about aging and oral health.
One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.
According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.
If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to setup an appointment!
Continued Safety Protocols
As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.
Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:
- Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
- Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it
Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.
We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care
First and foremost, if you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give us a call at 520-886-3303 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind. If you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief, then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices.
Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?
We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.
One: Broken or missing teeth
It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.
Two: Dental abscesses
A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.
Three: Lost filling or crown
A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.
Four: Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw
Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.
Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
One of the hottest topics in dentistry today is the use of dental implants. Implants have certainly revolutionized the field of replacement teeth. If you are considering tooth implants for missing teeth, you need to know the facts. There are pros and cons of dental implants that are carefully weighed by your dentist before surgery can be scheduled.
Research continually shows that dental implants are the best long term solution to replace missing teeth. However, like any type of surgery, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Cons of Dental Implants
No procedure is right for everyone, including dental implants. While there are some risks associated with dental implants, they are relatively mild. The disadvantages include:
1. You have to meet a set of requirements
In order to have dental implant surgery, you first have to meet certain criteria. As the procedure involves anchoring the implant to your jaw bone, if you’ve experienced significant bone loss as a result of losing teeth, there may not be enough for the dental implant to be successful. You also have to be in good health so your jaw bone can fully recover.
2. The cost of the procedure
While dental implants are the best long term solution for tooth loss, they’re not always the most cost effective. However, dental implants are well worth the price for the comfort, confidence and natural feel they give you.
3. The procedure can be lengthy
Dental implants are not a quick fix and can take several months to complete. If you’re replacing an existing damaged tooth, this will first need to be removed. Your dentist will then need to prepare the tooth site before fitting the implant anchor. Once the anchor has been fitted, you’ll need to wait several months while it heals and the surrounding bone grows. The final stage of the procedure involves placing the artificial tooth.
Pros of Dental Implants
While there are some drawbacks to dental implants, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
1. They look and feel like natural teeth
Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth. In fact, once your implant has been fitted, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between your replacement tooth and your real teeth. Implants also won’t feel any different from your regular teeth. Since the implants are anchored to your jaw, they’ll feel just as strong as your regular teeth too.
2. You can eat and chew with ease
Unlike dentures, implants won’t feel any different than your regular teeth when eating and chewing. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, you can eat what you want! Whether you fancy crunchy snacks, chewy foods, or hot or cold drinks, you can eat and drink without concern — just remember not to overdo the sugary treats.
3. Dental implants can last a lifetime
Implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement solution. You may need to replace the crowns every 10-15 years, but if you look after the implants, they can last a lifetime.
4. They’re easy to take care of
You should take care of your implants the same way you would take care of your regular teeth with daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and a healthy diet.
5. They prevent bone loss
Dental implants are anchored into your jaw, similar to your real teeth. The screw thread of the implant acts as the root of a natural tooth, so with dental implants, your jaw bone remains strong and you won’t experience bone loss.
You can see that the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. Dental implants have been proven to be a great option for people who suffer from tooth loss. We always want to make our patients look and feel great, and dental implants is a great way to do that. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so give us a call!