Master, College of Conscious Sedation
Omaha Sedation Dental Center
Here are the difficulties older patients get into with their teeth; that means their caregivers if and when assisted living begins have a very difficult time helping the elder patients take care of their teeth.
Oral hygiene in such situations take a back chair is secondary to other health conditions the patient might have; besides brushing some one else's teeth; cleaning their dentures.
#1. Root caries; that is to say decay/cavities on the root surface at the gum line. When caught early they are usually easy to repair but as time goes on the decay becomes a wrap around recurrent decay under the gum line between the teeth. The germs causing the problem love the soft root surface and these creatures act like Beavers of the Northern Plains; eating thru the soft bark of trees planted by humans.
#2 Gum disease; @79% of the population has some level of gum disease. The problem for we senior citizens is that gum disease problems are cumulative. For some older patients there are areas in their mouth that have advancing gum disease problems. The issue problem that stared in your gums 30 years ago which your dentist told you was not any thing to worry about has now become something to worry about:). Once gum disease gets a foot hold in your mouth; imagine that ...a foot in your mouth; the damage cannot be reversed. Gum disease after it has gone beyond simple gingivitis is no longer reversible; the good news is it can be managed by factitious attention to home care and becoming a loyal and frequent patient of your favorite hygienist; you know the rest.. no smoking; healthy diet; taking care of cavities and bad bite.
#3 Stress on the human body increases as we age. That is partly because our body clock winds down. Kidneys and adrenal glands work at half or less of what they did when a patient was 18 years old. There can be cardiac problems; there can be post traumatic issues and surgeries that compromise patient health. For this reason Dr. Starkey recommends a stress reduction protocol for patients over sixty years old. The stress reduction protocol is a way to reduce the negative effects of trauma from dental surgery on the heart and the pituitary adrenal kidney complex.
#4 Dry mouth- Dry mouth if I did not mention is an important cause of root caries. A dry mouth means your body is not producing enough saliva to protect your gums and teeth. Saliva has white blood cells and immunoglobins to eliminate bacteria.