Here at Geelan Dental Care, we love our seniors! We take pride in providing a warm, friendly atmosphere and expert care to our valued patients of all ages. Furthermore, our dentists and hygienists are highly trained to understand the nuances of working with the distinct needs of the elderly population.
What Are the Needs of Geriatric Dentistry Patients?
Seniors still need to be regularly caring for their teeth, just as children and younger adults do, if not more so. Seniors are often even at a higher risk for oral health care concerns than when they were younger. That is why we are proud to have dentists and hygienists specially trained for geriatric dentistry.
There are a few oral health concerns that significantly rise as we age. Even seniors with good oral health are at a much higher risk for periodontitis, or gum disease. Periodontal care and maintenance become essential for the older population.
A Focus On Periodontal Care
Seniors are at a higher risk for periodontitis for a few reasons. It is a natural part of aging that the gums will grow weaker and begin to recede, causing bacteria to collect gaps and loosen the teeth. Many important medications seniors need to take cause xerostomia, commonly referred to as dry mouth.
A lack of saliva is a huge issue because natural ingredients in saliva fight against bacteria and keep food particles from sticking to the teeth. General periodontal maintenance such as daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits may get neglected by seniors with cognitive or physical limitations.
Fortunately, we can help. We are highly trained to deep clean and look for symptoms of periodontitis that may otherwise go unnoticed. Should mild periodontitis be found, we will use antibiotics or scaling. Scaling is a special technique where we deep clean with a laser.
In a more serious or advanced case of periodontitis, there are still plenty of options.
Flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery is a surgical procedure where our dentist removes damaged tissue and fills in the pockets that were collecting bacteria. Another very common solution is bone grafting. If periodontitis has advanced to the point where the bone has been destroyed, bone grafting is a minor surgery where our dentist can replace and repair the bone.
Oral Cancer Screening
It is recommended those over 40 years of age receive annual oral cancer screenings. However, if you have a history of tobacco use, HPV, sun exposure, heavy alcohol use, or oral cancer, please consult us about being screened more regularly. An oral cancer screening is a simple procedure that can happen during regular cleaning. Your mouth and throat will be carefully examined for any bumps, discolored spots, swelling, or other abnormalities. If there is a concern, we will use a laser and/or special dye to highlight any inconsistent abnormal tissue and possibly recommend an oncologist.
While our staff is specially trained to check for cancer, please pay attention to the condition of your oral health at home. If you notice any spots, lumps, swelling, bleeding, or discomfort, it is important to reach out to us immediately. If you have any oral health care concerns as a senior, please do not hesitate to call Geelan Dental Care at (971) 323-1990 today.