Dental Advice for Seniors

We have gathered some frequently asked questions that patients have asked us over the years and listed them below. Should you require further information please get in touch.

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FAQs - Dental Advice for Seniors

I seem to be getting a lot more cavities these days. Can you think why this might be?

Several factors might be at play here. Firstly as we grow older our salivary glands slow down a bit, and we produce less saliva to wash away the harmful acids that attack our teeth. Secondly gum recession (and everybody gets it to a degree), exposes the roots of our teeth which are softer and more prone to decay. Lastly, with more time on our hands we’re more likely to indulge in snacking which increases those acid attacks.

Any advice on avoiding any more cavities?

Obviously if you are assiduous in removing all plaque from your teeth each day, there are no bacteria to create the acids that harm our teeth, so good oral hygiene will reap its rewards in your mouth and pocket.

I’ve noticed my mouth often seems drier, and I’m pleased that it’s not just me, but what can I do about it?

In extreme cases you can use artificial saliva which most chemists stock. Whatever you do, don’t suck sugar containing sweets if you have your own teeth. We’d suggest sugar-free chewing gum, or failing that sugar-free mints to stimulate saliva flow. Keep up your intake of fluids – natural water is best, but tea contains fluoride which as I say will strengthen the surfaces of your teeth. Please avoid carbonated drinks – they’re just too acidic.

I wear dentures and the corners of my mouth get very sore and cracked. Why is this?

You’re almost certainly suffering from a fungal infection called Candida. We all have candida spores living in our mouths but the folds of the lips provide a warm moist environment in which candida flourishes. A week’s course of Fluconazol will usually eliminate the infection. Make sure you clean your dentures carefully; it’s even worth soaking them in Miltons or TCP to kill off any Candida on the surface of the dentures.

Old dentures can become porous and infected with Candida, so you might think about replacing them if you suffer recurrent problems.

I’ve been thinking about replacing my dentures. Is there anything better I could have?

If you can afford them dental implants are fantastic. You can either just have a few to stabilise your dentures, and I do mean stabilise - they won’t move at all. Alternatively you can effectively have your own teeth back by using a few more implants and bridgework. That way you never have to wear dentures again.

How much are dental implants and how often do they need replacing?

The good news about implants is that being made of titanium they don’t decay. Once in place and providing they are looked after, they hardly ever need replacement. The dentures or bridges that they support can clamp or wear like normal teeth but are easily replaced without disturbing the implants. You’ll find more information on implants elsewhere on this site.

Our implant work is carried out by highly trained professionals and obviously when you’re spending this amount of money, careful planning is essential. We would recommend using a dentist who is experienced in placing and restoring dental implants.

For detailed pricing options please click here to view our expert dental implant website.

I am not sure about dental implants, but I’ve noticed different dentists charge different prices for dentures. Why is this?

It’s a bit like cars. A Rolls Royce will cost twenty times as much as a Ford Fiesta although they both do the same job. With dentures the technical costs for the actual construction of the denture will vary enormously depending on the skill and care taken by the technician. The materials they use will also have a major impact on the cost – better quality dentures will be constructed from high-impact acrylics and use teeth imported from Switzerland that have far more characterisation than stock teeth.

Furthermore your dentist may spend a lot more time refining the impressions, and registering the way that your upper and lower teeth meet each other which can be critical for successful dentures. By-and-large the old maxim ‘You get what you pay for’ applies here, but discuss options with your dentist.

Am I destined to lose all my teeth as I get older?

Absolutely not! Some people have to work harder than others to keep their teeth, but with good oral hygiene and regular visits to a hygienist all of us should be able to keep a large proportion of our teeth for life. At Smiles Better we are very keen that our patients should use TP brushes to clean between their teeth as these seem to work even better than floss, we also advocate fluoride rinses to minimise dental decay. The good news is that dentures are no longer inevitable.