12 Popular dental services for Seniors
Learn more about the most popular dental services for seniors
If you’re a senior or maturing adult, you probably already know about the importance of taking care of your teeth and oral health. They help us do one of the most enjoyable parts of life… eating. While we can sometimes get away with less treatment and oral maintenance over a period of time, eventually the wear and tear of using our teeth will need the professional care of trained dentists and oral specialists. Let’s delve into some of the most common dental services for seniors.
General exams, cleanings, and x-rays
It all starts in the dentists’ office. Most oral care will begin with a foundation of regular visits to the dentist. Most dental plans include benefits for basic exams every 6 months. General exams usually include a visual examination of the mouth by the dentist as well as x-rays to determine the overall health of the teeth, jaw, and gums. These basic exams are vital to maintaining good oral health and catching any problems before they get worse. You’ll want to be sure to routinely schedule your cleanings as it can save you in the long run.
Deep cleanings or periodontal root scaling
Sometimes seniors may need their cleanings to go a bit deeper. Some oral conditions can require additional maintenance and care beyond basic cleanings. These are known as deep cleanings or periodontal root scaling. These treatments go further in keeping the teeth and gums clean and free of plaque an particles that can cause gum irritations and deteriorate into gingivitis and other oral issues. Many dental plans include benefits for these services, but they may not be in the preventive or basic service categories.
Basic services like fillings and recementation of crowns and dentures
Although more commonly associated with younger patients, it’s still possible for maturing adults to get cavities and need fillings to repair a tooth. Fillings are generally covered in the basic services category of many dental plans.
Another more frequent need of seniors is the recementation of crowns or dentures that come loose. If you have a crown or bridge that becomes loose with no further damage to the porcelain, most dentists can typically recement them to the base tooth. Even though most bonds will hold for a long period of time, you may need to get them recemented over time. It’s always good to ensure a strong bond, both with your dentist and your teeth.
Root canals and extractions
Even with good oral hygiene and exams, it’s possible for dental issues to arise over time. Sometimes a damaged tooth will need more extensive treatment to try to save it. A root canal is one of the first steps to try to save a tooth that has been cracked or jarred. It’s important to keep good blood flow and to remove debris to keep a tooth healthy and pain free.
Sometimes a tooth may be beyond repair and must be pulled. Tooth extractions are covered with most dental insurance plans. Benefits can even include oral surgery depending on a patients needs. Root canals and extractions are some of the first major services that senior dental patients may have to consider.
Major services including crowns, bridges, and dentures
If you’re a senior who’s had a root canal or an extracted tooth, then you’ll probably also need other major dental services to replace a missing tooth such as crowns, bridges, or dentures.
A crown typically replaces one missing tooth, while a bridge can consist of two or more teeth that are missing. Crowns and bridges are usually bonded to base of the tooth that serves as an anchor. Dentures are generally a larger number of teeth or whole mouth replacement that are glued or bonded to the gums.
For those who have crowns, bridges, or dentures, repairs are sometimes needed to recement, refit, or adjust the placement in the mouth. Most dental insurance plans include benefits for the repair and service of oral components like bridges and dentures. Most seniors looking for dental coverage will want to make sure to include these benefits for major dental services.
Dental implants are a denture alternative
One oral treatment that’s growing in popularity with seniors is dental implants. While dentures can be a hassle to deal with since they’re usually bonded to the gums, dental implants can serve as a permanent solution to missing or damaged teeth because they are anchor to the jaw, more like regular teeth. With implants, a titanium base is surgically implanted into the jaw and fuses with the bone as it heals. Once fully healed, dental specialists can attached a crown or bridge to the implant that is permanently anchored to the jaw.
The great thing about implants is that they can look and function like real teeth. Fortunately, there are dental plans that include coverage for dental implants for seniors such as ones with Renaissance Dental.
Maintain your oral hygiene with great oral care
While there are countless other dental services that can be performed for maturing adults, we’ve listed some of the most common services that seniors need. Be sure to have a conversation with your dentist to ask questions and find out what oral treatments you may need in the future. With the right dental care, you can be sure to maintain or improve your oral health for many years to come and to continue that enjoyable part of life… food.
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