Even though everyone has dental problems no matter what age they are, someone that is elderly is likely to have certain oral conditions that affect their teeth and overall health. Below are three of these problems so you can keep an eye out for them.
Tooth discoloration, such as yellowing of the teeth, is common for the elderly. This is because tooth enamel weakens with age. Enamel is the visible layer on your teeth. It is very hard and its job is to protect the underlying tissue of the teeth. When the enamel erodes, it exposes the dentin that is underneath it. Dentin is generally a yellow color.
Drinks like soda, coffee, and wine can make the teeth stain even more. You may also be on medications that may cause your teeth to turn yellow. If you are on medications, ask the pharmacist or your doctor if it affects your teeth in this way.
Root caries is root decay and it is a dental problem that requires immediate dental treatment. This problem is common with the elderly because with age the gums recede or pull away from the teeth, exposing the root surface. The root surface is not protected so once exposed, it is vulnerable to bacteria and decay.
If you are having this problem, you will receive receding gums and root decay treatment. The treatment you receive depends on what is causing the gum recession and how severe the tooth decay is. If you have periodontal disease, you will receive periodontal treatment from your dental hygienist, which is generally root planning and scaling. During these treatments, plaque is removed from the root surface. After the treatment, the gum tissue will heal and reattach to the surface of the teeth.
If your gum recession is very advanced, the dentist will perform a gum graft. If you have decay down into the root, it may require a root canal to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Dental attrition is wearing of the teeth due to grinding or clenching of the teeth. It destroys the tooth structure and causes the teeth to have a flatter surface. Aging is a factor in dental attrition. This is because the longer the grinding or clenching of the teeth, the more wear on the teeth there is.
If you have a problem grinding or clinching your teeth, talk with your dentist about wearing a mouth guard while you are sleeping just in case you are doing it during the night.
Talk with your dentist or check out the site about these dental problems and what you can do to help prevent them from happening.