In dentistry, it’s not uncommon to see people have beautiful healthy teeth and then struggle to keep their smiles healthy once they become a senior. One of the biggest reasons is because preventive visits and checkups often get pushed to the side, due to a limited or fixed income.
Here are some of the most common senior dental problems that experts see, and what can be done to fix them:
A Denture That Won’t Stay Put
The older a denture gets (or the more that it’s worn,) the looser it can start to feel. This means that it will start to shift or rock out of place during the day. As such, it can be very challenging to speak clearly or to even chew your food.
First, make sure you’re always taking your denture out at night. Excessive wear places unnecessary strain on your oral tissues. As such, your bone can begin to resorb away and cause the denture to not fit.
Take your denture in for routine checkups. If needed, your dentist can make adjustments or reline the prosthesis altogether. This will provide a better and more comfortable fit than any sticky pastes or strips that you can buy at a drugstore.
If you have a toothache, cavity, or gum disease, one of the cheapest ways to “fix” the problem is to have the tooth pulled. Unfortunately, this leaves a gaping hole in your smile and your self-confidence. Consequently, your neighboring or opposing teeth will start to shift out of place because of the excess space.
Rather than have a tooth extracted, it’s better to see your dentist when you first notice that there is a problem. The sooner you “fix” it, the less invasive and more affordable it will be.
Maybe you already have missing teeth or just got one pulled. Ask your dentist about what tooth replacement options can help you keep your bite strong and have a minimal impact on your neighboring teeth. Depending on your situation, you might be able to choose between a partial denture, bridge, or even a dental implant.
Not Being Able to Taste or Eat Your Food
Is a large denture making it difficult to enjoy your favorite meals? Because of the design and how it covers the roof of your mouth, this is a common complaint. Or, people just can’t eat a balanced meal because they don’t have enough stable teeth to chew with. Either way, it can result in unnecessary weight loss.
One of the first suggestions that you might want to consider, is that of getting dental implants. Implants mimic the design of natural teeth, freeing up extra space in your mouth. Their stability means that you can typically bite and chew any food that you want to. There are even “mini” implant options available that can be used to retain your removable denture, for better stability.
Do you cover your smile when you talk, or avoid laughing in front of other people because of how your teeth look? An embarrassing smile impacts everything from your social life to your self-confidence. It may be that you can’t comfortably wear your dentures or that you’ve recently had a tooth pulled.
Whatever the root of your embarrassment is, it’s time to talk to your dentist about it. He or she will be the best one to tell you which options are available to help you address a specific concern. Trust us, you’re not the first one to go through this struggle!
No Dental Insurance
Finally, the biggest dental problem that seniors face is lack of dental insurance. Once you retire, you may find yourself paying cash for dental appointments, because Medicare does not cover dental care (except in a few, extremely limited, cases). Depending on your oral health and dental history, you can find a budget friendly dental plan that will cover preventive care such as check-ups and cleanings, as well as restorative services which include crowns, bridges and dentures.
At Cigna Dental Plans, we offer affordable dental savings plans that will save you 10%-50% on dental care with dentists in your area. Contact us today to find out more about our senior dental savings plans.