As we gradually move towards a more advanced age, it is a well known fact that out body starts to complain about the many years of service it has done. With our teeth however there is a lot that can be done and it is really not the case that we inevitable will loose teeth as we age.
What particular problems may be involved?
Some gum recession may occur as you get older and exposed root surface will erode gradually because it is very soft compared to the enamel. We will be able to advise you on the best brushing methods to keep these problems under control and may advise a fluoride rinse to deal with possible sensitivity. The eroded surfaces can be neatly protected by putting composite filling material into the eroded root. This restores the shape of the tooth but more importantly, protect the root surface from eroding further.
Normal cleaning may become more difficult if your manual dexterity is reduced or if your eyesight is less than perfect. Again particular help and advice will be needed for the best aids to use – a magnifying mirror preferably with a built in ring light and an electric toothbrush are often the answer.
If you have lost one or more teeth and find it difficult to get on with your dentures, there are other solutions available like upgrading from plastic dentures to metal based dentures, or even better, to bridges. We can discuss all these options with you on your examination day.
Some people take regular medication which makes their mouths dry. Saliva helps to protect teeth against decay so if you have less saliva than usual ask your dentist for advice. Alternatively, special products including artificial saliva are available over the counter in most chemists.
Should I expect to have problems with my gums?
Gum problems are caused by a build up of bacteria called dental plaque, which forms constantly on the teeth and gums. It is important to remove this plaque in order to avoid gum inflammation. If the plaque is not removed the gum inflammation will in time, affect the bone under the gums which supports the roots and your teeth may gradually become loose.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
As it is often painless many people may be unaware that they have gum disease. Some common signs are: gums that bleed when brushed, teeth that are loose, receding gums and bad breath. Not everyone has all these signs. You may have only one.
Can I still get tooth decay?
Yes. The same dental plaque which causes gum inflammation can cause decay, particularly when combined with sugary food and drinks. There is a particular risk of decay at the gum edge when there has been some gum recession as the neck of the tooth is not protected by enamel. To minimis the risk thoroughly remove the plaque from your teeth and dentures twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Avoid food and drinks containing sugar in between meals. Sugar is most harmful to teeth if consumed frequently throughout the day.