If you’re an older dental patient, you may be reluctant to visit the dentist. Your teeth and gums have been through a lot over your many years and it is evident in your smile. Your smile is marked by discolored, cavity-riddled teeth, a receding gum line and embarrassing gaps where some of your teeth have already fallen out. You don’t like your smile, but because of our age think that nothing can be done to regain that bright, vibrant, healthy smile you had when you were younger. With your advanced age, you think it is too late to change your smile.
The Aging Process
There are undesirable changes that happen in the mouth as we age. Seniors are at high risk of cavities and gum disease due to naturally receding gums, brittle teeth and dry mouth that is a common side-effect of many medications seniors take for other health issues. In addition, because the muscles of the heart weaken with age, older dental patients are more sensitive to analgesics and local anesthetics. This can make it more difficult for certain dental procedures to be done.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help Make You Look Younger
When you think of cosmetic dentistry, you may think it is only for patients younger than yourself. While cosmetic dentistry is popular for patients in their thirties through sixties, there is nothing saying that older patients can’t take advantage of cosmetic dentistry to get a younger, healthier-looking smile. In fact, cosmetic dentistry is becoming more popular amongst senior patients.
Tooth discoloration is common amongst seniors as tooth enamel breaks down over time. Professional teeth whitening can restore and bring back to life the faded smile of age. Teeth whitening can brighten teeth by many shades, so senior patients have the option for a subtle or more vibrantly whiter smile. Senior patients with deep, stubborn stains, bonding may be a more appropriate whitening treatment. With bonding, a tooth-colored substance is applied over the stained area of a tooth. Bonding is also an effective treatment to relieve tooth sensitivity and to cover small cracks or chips in the teeth.
The weakened enamel of teeth found in older patients and the possible shifting of teeth due to lost teeth and deteriorating jaw bones can cause teeth to get cracked, chipped, form striations and become misshapen. To recreate a younger-looking smile that is straight and full of smooth, strong teeth, thin sheets of porcelain that cover affected teeth called veneers can help.
For many seniors, the many years of use and deterioration of proper oral hygiene have left few, if any, of their natural teeth in their mouths. For these patients, dentures may be their only options. Dentures have been traditionally a hallmark of advanced age. Modern dentures, however, have greatly improved from those in the past. Today, denture patients can have permanent dentures thanks to dental implants. Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jaw bone and are topped with a natural-looking ceramic crown. Because these posts are directly inserted into the jaw bone, they are secure and stable, providing excellent support for dentures. With implant-supported dentures, patients can bite, chew, smile and talk with confidence. Unlike traditional dentures that are bonded to teeth and must be taken out for eating and overnight cleaning, implant-supported dentures can withstand great force, enabling them to stay in the mouth. Seniors with these dentures don’t have to worry about embarrassing slipping and sliding of the denture and can enjoy more of their favorite foods.
How LeDowns Dentistry Can Help
At LeDowns Dentistry, we want healthy and great-looking smiles for all our patients, no matter their age. We believe that it’s never too late to restore one’s smile and we offer the dental services that can help bring back the life and youthfulness of your smile. To learn more about the cosmetic dental services we offer seniors, feel free to contact us and schedule an appointment.