Dental care for older adults and the elderly is a very important subject. Geriatric patients are sometimes fragile, and often, a long life and lifestyle choices have taken a toll on their teeth.
We take our responsibility to serve our older patients very seriously—and it requires a type of experience and knowledge that cannot be found in all practices. Here are some considerations when it comes to caring for the teeth of elderly patients.
- Medications – Medications such as blood thinners can cause serious issues during simple dental procedures, and even more so during oral surgeries. Please inform our staff if you are making an appointment for anyone who is on a medication that affects blood or bruising.
- Missing teeth – Elderly patients are often missing or have broken teeth. Special care must be taken to preserve the remaining teeth and their health when performing exams and cleanings.
- Dentures, bridges, and other appliances – Removable dental appliances should be removed before an appointment, and other permanent dental appliances will be cleaned in the mouth. Dentures that are removed will be cleaned and inspected. Aging can cause structural changes that affect how they fit, so it’s important to bring all dental appliances to the appointment for the dentist.
- Physical medical conditions – Physical limitations can be addressed by having the dental staff work with the patient in their wheelchair or in whatever position they feel most comfortable during the exam and cleaning. We can also advise the patient or caregiver on modified options for brushing and rinses in the cases where at-home care is challenging.
- Mental conditions – Dementia and similar conditions often make patients frightened or confused when visiting a dentist. In these cases, we work with the trusted caregivers to provide training and guidance as well as look to them for the best ways to approach and treat their loved ones. Respect and patience in these cases is extremely important. Please call us before the appointment if you have a loved-one who will require any specialty services of this nature.
Oral health affects the overall health and longevity of the elderly. With consistent care and treatment, our older patients can—and deserve the best, healthy smile possible. We look forward to seeing you, and all family members (from the youngest to the oldest) in our offices soon.