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Caring for Senior Teeth

Restorative Dentistry 1 Midlothian, VA Dentist | Biggers Family Dentistry

With “family” in the name, it is no surprise that Biggers Family Dentistry serves children, parents, and grandparents. Our Midlothian, VA dentist has patients who range in age from 2 to 98!

Senior teeth may have special dental challenges. Fortunately, Dr. Hood Biggers has good advice for keeping your mouth healthy as long as you possibly can.

Two challenges with senior teeth are dry mouth and ill-fitting dentures. They can affect other ages too, of course. Dry mouth is an issue for many people who take certain combinations of medications. According to a Surgeon General’s study, more than 400 medications can cause dry mouth. And people with dry mouth are more prone to dental decay.

Call Biggers Family Dentistry at 804-621-2199 for general dental care that will ensure your mouth is healthy, no matter what your age!

Here are Dr. Biggers’ tips for how to handle dry mouth and ill-fitting dentures.

 

Dry Mouth

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is especially common in seniors. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the condition affects 30 percent of people older than age 65. This is because seniors are more likely than other age groups to take multiple medications.

You can ask your doctors if it is possible to switch your medications to ones that are less likely to cause dry mouth. Certain types of antidepressants are more likely than others to have dry mouth as a side effect, for example. You may also find relief by taking your meds during the day instead of at night.

Other tips for dealing with dry mouth include:

  • Drink lots of water or other sugarless, caffeine-free drinks. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Also, avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy. This stimulates saliva production.
  • Use a humidifier at night.
  • Avoid tobacco products.
  • Avoid dry and salty foods.

Since dry mouth contributes to tooth decay, you should ask about getting a fluoride treatment and using a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste. For severe cases of dry mouth, we can write you a prescription for a saliva substitute.

 

Poor-Fitting Dentures

As you age, your jawbone shrinks. So dentures that once fit well may now shift and slip, making you uncomfortable and making it tough to eat certain types of food.

A possible solution is implant-supported dentures . Because these dentures attach to titanium rods inserted directly into your jawbone, they don’t slip like traditional dentures do.

Our Midlothian, VA dentist at Biggers Family Dentistry offers two types of implant-supported dentures. Both of them offer a more secure fit than traditional dentures. They are:

  • Bar-retained dentures. We attach a thin bar to two to five dental implants . Your denture is secured to the bar with clips or other attachments.
  • Ball-retained dentures. We use implants with attachments that connect with corresponding attachments on your denture.

 

Regular Dental Care Is More Important Than Ever

As you age, regular dental care is more important than ever. You should brush and floss teeth twice a day, and you should see your dentist for dental exams every six months.

During a thorough dental exam, like those at Biggers Family Dentistry, we carefully clean your teeth. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease by getting rid of harmful bacteria.

We also check for tooth fillings , dental crowns , or other dental work that may have become worn out and need to be replaced. Not doing this routine maintenance can cause problems that could lead to more serious issues. If a filling becomes worn out, for example, your tooth can get infected. If that happens, you may end up needing a root canal.

We will also perform a screening for oral cancer. While this is important at any age, it is essential for seniors. According to the ADA, the average age for an oral cancer diagnosis is 62.

Biggers Family Dentistry uses the latest dental technology, which makes routine exams more comfortable for all of our patients. For example, we use a Planmeca ProMax system to take X-rays so you don’t need to worry about putting bulky films in your mouth or moving around as it takes images. Instead, the machinery does its work while you stand still and relax.

 

Wrapping Up: Keep Up the Good Work

Regular dental exams and good dental hygiene practices like flossing and brushing daily will keep your mouth and teeth healthy, no matter your age.

It is a good idea to find a dentist you trust and who will take the time to address any special dental needs with you. Biggers Family Dentistry enjoys working with senior teeth and teeth of all ages. Call 804-621-2199 for an appointment.

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