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Geriatric Dentistry

By pamelali, in Articles, on April 23, 2011 | Comments (0)

Ottawa, ON – As the baby boom generation ages, geriatric dentistry is becoming an increasingly large component of many dentists’ practices.

“We are seeing more and more elderly patients who have specific problems related to aging and need specific kinds of care,” point out Ottawa dentists at Dr. Pamela Li’s an Ottawa cosmetic dentistry.

It used to be that older patients who had problems with teeth and gums would have tooth extractions and get dentures. However, more of today’s dental patients received high quality oral care earlier in life. “Many of today’s baby boomers have been going to the dentist regularly, brushing and flossing, and getting the benefits of added fluoride in drinking water most of their lives,” notes Li, an Ottawa dentistry professional. “As a result of this better dental care, people can keep their original teeth longer and may not need dentures at all.”

Retaining one’s natural teeth is always the preferable option; however, it does give rise to a new set of problems such as increased periodontal disease and root decay. “As people age, they need to be even more vigilant about taking care of their gums,” observes Li, an Ottawa family dentistry practitioner. “Periodontal – or gum – disease can lead to problems with infections and tooth loss – and it’s a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

The Ottawa dental bridge provider also notes that older patients experience more gum recession and bone loss over the years. This leads to root decay, which is harder to detect and treat. It also spreads more quickly. Patients who don’t want to experience tooth loss or require dentures should be extra vigilant.

Seniors tend to have more medical problems overall, some of which can influence the teeth. They tend to take more medications, which can cause dry mouth, a factor in tooth decay. Patients who have arthritis may have limited range of motion and aren’t able to care for their teeth as effectively. “Also, seniors with limited mobility may have trouble getting out to visit the dentist – especially those who live in nursing homes,” notes Li, an Ottawa dental implants provider.

However, the Ottawa dentures provider explains that it is particularly important for seniors to visit the dentist regularly. “Many of the treatments for these issues are preventative,” she says. In her Ottawa dental clinic, she ensures that patients are taking the appropriate preventative steps including regular checkups and cleanings and good oral hygiene. For patients who need a little extra help, the dentist can provide custom fluoride trays and gels.

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