Patients over the age of 65 may face unique oral health challenges. For example, some individuals develop arthritis, which makes it more difficult to brush and floss properly. Others may take certain medications that affect saliva production. This can lead to dry mouth and cause a host of other dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
At Dowell Dental Group, we provide comprehensive dental exams for seniors. Here, we discuss why senior dental care is so important and explore common treatments. Dentist Stephen C. Dowell is proud to serve patients of all ages in Minerva, OH, Carrollton, OH, Dover, OH, and surrounding areas.
Seniors have a higher risk of decay, gum disease, and other issues. In the early stages, these problems may be asymptomatic. But left untreated, they can worsen and wreak havoc on your oral and overall health. Oral bacteria is linked to a wide range of medical problems, including pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can have a negative impact on oral health. Routine dental care is especially important for seniors undergoing these treatments.
During a consultation at Dowell Dental Group, our team will perform a comprehensive examination. Here, we discuss the elements of this visit in more detail.
First, your dentist checks your teeth and gums for any decay or periodontal issues. This typically involves caries detection, periodontal charting, and a bite assessment. Your jaw joints will also be assessed to ensure they are working correctly. If any issues are detected, all treatment options will be discussed in detail.
Cleanings are an important aspect of senior dental care. Brushing and flossing at home keep bacteria at bay for some time. But eventually, plaque and tartar will need to be removed during a professional cleaning with your hygienist. During this process, bacteria is eliminated from hard-to-reach areas. Your hygienist can even demonstrate proper oral hygiene techniques so you can keep your smile in excellent condition between visits.
Cancers affecting the oral cavity have a high mortality rate. This is not because the condition is especially difficult to treat. Rather, the disease is rarely detected in its early stages. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Only 57 percent of those individuals will still be alive in five years.
For this reason, our dentists perform a routine oral cancer screening at every appointment. During this process, your doctor checks for bumps, lesions, pain, or tenderness in the oral cavity. If anything suspicious is found, we can perform a soft tissue biopsy to determine the nature of the cells. If necessary, we can refer you to an oncologist for further testing and treatment.
If you or a family member need a senior dental exam, reach out to the team at Dowell Dental Group. We can keep your oral health in check and reduce the risk of infections and other complications. Contact us online anytime or call us at (330) 868-5001.