While the basics of dental hygiene are the same at every age—brushing, flossing & healthy eating habits—risks and concerns for older adults are different than younger adults and kids. Being aware of these concerns may help you make be more aware of your own dental health and make more informed decisions as you age.
Old Fillings and Crowns
If you’ve had teeth repaired with fillings or crowns in the past, you should be aware that tooth decay can undermine these repairs to the point that they need replacement. Without diligent dental hygiene habits and regular checkups, cavities can form near fillings and crowns, causing them to loosen or fit poorly, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to further decay. If you have crowns or fillings that are many years old, talk to the dentist about whether they might need to be replaced to ensure the teeth they’re on stay safe and strong.
Teeth naturally get more yellow as you age. The soft dentin layer on the inside of your teeth yellows with time, which wouldn’t be a problem except that the semi-translucent outer layer of enamel also thins, revealing this yellow color. Pair this with a lifetime of enjoying tea, coffee, cola or wine, and you have a recipe for a duller smile. Luckily, professional teeth whitening treatments and store-bought teeth whitening products can help with this discoloration, they just won’t be as effective as when you were younger. Everyone’s teeth are different, so be sure to ask us which method would be the best teeth whitening choice for you.
Tooth loss, whether due to gum disease or other dental problems, is a common challenge for older adults. Dentures (or false teeth) used to be the go-to solution for replacing teeth, but luckily dental technology has advanced to allow better options. Dental implants are the best solution for replacing teeth because unlike dentures that rest on top of the gums, implants have an artificial titanium root that is fused with the jawbone. This makes replacement teeth more secure, easier to bite with, and can prevent bone loss that is inevitable with dentures. They are also hybrid treatments that use several implants to secure a denture, making it more comfortable and more affordable that a complete set of implant-secured crowns. If having missing teeth is impacting your ability to smile, eat, or talk, please talk to use about the many custom solutions available with today’s dentistry.