While dentures may have been a foregone conclusion for most of our great-grandparents, edentulism—having no teeth—is becoming increasingly rare. A significant percentage of Americans are keeping at least some of their biological teeth as they age. There are certain steps that you can take to stave off tooth loss as you get older.
The most common reasons for tooth loss in older patients (and younger ones, for that matter) are periodontal disease and tooth decay. While your risk of developing these conditions does increase with age, gum disease still can be prevented.
You can consult with a periodontist to get suggestions on keeping oral hygiene habits that will keep your mouth healthy. Make sure that you are brushing and flossing enough and check in with your dentist at least every six months for cleanings and exams.
Additionally, some aspects of aging may create specific circumstances that can promote gum disease. For example, many medications have dry mouth as a side effect, and when there is less saliva in the mouth, oral bacteria have more opportunity to accumulate and cause inflammation in the gums. Ask your periodontist if there are any issues specific to your case that may affect the likelihood that you’ll develop periodontal disease.
If you do experience tooth loss as a result of gum disease and extensive decay, you’ll now have better options for replacing those missing teeth than the uncomfortable prosthetic teeth that patients were resigned to just a few decades ago.
Dental implants mimic the structure of natural teeth so they feel more like real teeth. Implant-supported dentures have a physical connection to the jaw, unlike standard dentures, which are held in place by denture adhesives. The bond between the bone and the implant helps to secure the appliance and makes it more comfortable.
Dental implants also help to preserve the integrity of the jawbone, which means that your appliance is less likely to lose its fit as time passes.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid the need for a tooth replacement, though. Tooth loss can be prevented. Contact our skilled periodontal team today to learn how to reduce your risk of gum disease and improve your chances of retaining your biological teeth.