Dental Care for the Elderly and Disabled
Seniors Can Keep Their Teeth For a Lifetime
Why Do Seniors Lose Their Sense of Taste?
Aging doesn't mean the curtain has to come down on your smile. In fact, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular, smile-inducing moments of your life during the golden years. But how can you have repeat performances of those good times if you're always lying down on a dental chair? We've got some senior dental solutions. This one's obvious: As a senior, dental problems can be avoided with proper oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular dental visits. But it's also important to keep some specific senior dental considerations in mind. If you take certain medications, have any systemic disorders or are physically disabled, special attention is required, even when it comes to your teeth. For more tips on senior dental care, keep reading.
Q: How do dental plans for seniors work?
A: A variety of senior dental plans are available — some through associations like American Association for Retired People (AARP). Unlike dental insurance, dental plans are a discount program in which members receive dental care services at a discounted rate. Discount senior dental plans are less expensive than dental insurance plans and don't have annual limits; the discounts are applied each and every time you receive dental care. Dental plans for seniors can also be used in conjunction with dental insurance to reduce out-of-pocket costs.
Q: What should seniors expect to happen to their teeth?
A: Just as aging affects your body so too will it affect your teeth. After years of use, you can expect your teeth to show some enamel wear. The darkening of teeth is also common; as the dentin (soft enamel) ages, it tends to hold onto stains more than "young" dentin.
Receding gums is something to keep an eye on; they can make your teeth especially vulnerable to tooth decay and may cause sensitivity to hot or cold. Another thing seniors should not ignore is the possibility of cavities. Yes, cavities! Old dental fillings can start to weaken or crack, allowing decay to seep in. And dental plaque can build up faster on seniors' teeth. The good new is diligent senior dental care can alleviate many of these problems.
Q: Is there anything different about senior dental care?
A: Senior dental care is based on your specific needs and conditions. Because aging can have some of the effects on teeth mentioned above, a dentist may be more likely to keep an eye on things like tooth loss, enamel wear, receding gums and tooth stains. A dentist can also provide tips to help seniors who have problems with mobility or arthritis, which can make daily senior dental hygiene problematic.