The Aging Dental Dentition
Posted May 16, 2012 by Dr. Randy Kunik
As a person ages their teeth narrow in the back of their jaw. As the teeth move inward the space that was previously between the teeth is compressed. This compression often causes the front teeth to twist or overlap. This twisting of the teeth into an unnatural position can cause premature wear and health issues with the patients dentition. Primarily the gums may be more difficult to clean and the tooth ligaments can be stretched to where they no longer hold the teeth firm and in place during chewing. The resulting looseness can transmit pain when biting or when the teeth are at rest. Jaw joint issues can also develop as a result of the mis-aligned teeth.
It used to be easy to tell a person's age by looking at their teeth.
Determining a person's age by looking at their teeth used to be easy. However, as the current generation finds themselves working longer in life they also tend to take better care of their teeth. With healthy teeth and gums orthodontia can often be performed on a person that is 40, 50, or even 60 years old. These senior people often have management jobs that benefit from confidence. The kind of confidence inspired by one's perfect smile.
We often think that the loss of teeth with age is normal. Tooth loss can often be attributed to refined sugar in our diets. The excessive amounts of sugar combined with pour hygiene (drinking soda at bedtime, etc... ) causes tooth decay and accelerated degeneration of our gums and tissues in our mouth. However, modern dentistry and an abundance of nutritional information can help retain our original teeth for our lifetimes.
Preventative dental care for seniors involves seeing a dentist regularly. This is no different than caring for young persons' teeth. The added benefit of older healthy teeth is that if you want them straighter then the same technology used on younger dentition is available to you. So the first step in keeping a healthy smile is keeping your teeth clean. Regular teeth cleaning visits will help you avoid some of the long term effects of dental aging:
The effects of neglecting you teeth are many. Short-Term effects are:
- You can actually lose your teeth.
- Infections of dentition are more common.
- Increased Dental Visits
Long-Term Effects of Tooth neglect can include:
- As the ligaments lose their ability to hold your teeth multiple teeth can be lost.
- The yellowing of teeth, crowding of front teeth could reduce your desire to smile.
- Oral Cancer can appear in extreme cases.
- Restorative procedures may not be possible because of poor condition of dentition.
Restoring the Aging Dentition
The restoring process can take years. Restoring the heath of your gums is paramount in repairing your smile. If your teeth are crooked or mis-aligned then these conditions will only continue to hinder any improvements made in oral hygiene. If we add to that our busy schedules and stress, the problem of repairing pour oral hygiene could seem insurmountable.
So if your front teeth are beginning to crowd and you find yourself smiling less frequently then you are not alone. Improve your bite, restore your smile, and reverse the effects of aging by getting your teeth straightened and visiting your dentist every 6 months.