General Dentistry for Seniors

Dental Care for Seniors - Pittsburgh, PA

Posted on Feb 18, 2016 by Timothy Sluser, DMD

Smiling senior womanAs a senior, you face unique health challenges and concerns. However, because many older individuals focus on cardiovascular health and related concerns, they may not realize that they are also at a higher risk for dental damage. Though patients of all ages can develop gum disease, you are more likely to suffer from the condition after age 65. In turn, you could experience significant discomfort and widespread tooth loss. Fortunately, Dr. Sluser offers outstanding general dentistry for seniors, including preventive care and gentle sedation. He can also provide restorative care to repair damaged or missing teeth. To learn more about dental care for seniors, contact our Pittsburgh, PA practice today.

Gum Disease: A Common Concern for Seniors

When oral bacteria build up, they can form pockets in your soft gum tissues. This condition, known as gum disease, can cause inflammation, bleeding, gum recession, and even tooth loss. There are several reasons that you are more likely to suffer from gum disease as a senior. First, your immune system is weaker than it was in your youth. Therefore, you are less able to combat oral bacteria. Second, like many seniors, you may take medications that can cause dry mouth. Saliva plays an important role in your oral health because it helps to rinse away bacteria and bits of food. Therefore, with dry mouth, microbes can accumulate more easily. In addition, removable dentures and bridges can trap food and bacteria against your gums, increasing your risk for periodontitis. Finally, arthritis and joint damage can restrict the range of motion in your hands, making it harder to clean your teeth and remove bacteria.

Preventive Treatment Is Essential for Older Patients

Proper dental hygiene is important for everyone. However, due to your increased risk for gum disease and decay, preventive care is particularly vital for seniors. For optimal oral health, Dr. Sluser encourages you to schedule at least two dental visits a year. If you have already been diagnosed with gum disease or oral cancer, three to four visits a year may be more appropriate. At each visit, your hygienist will clean your teeth. Dr. Sluser will also look for the symptoms of decay, periodontitis, and oral cancer.

Restorative Treatments for Seniors

Though we work hard to prevent dental damage, we know that you may already be suffering from missing or weakened teeth. For this reason, we offer a range of restorative services. We will begin with periodontal treatment to address the underlying cause of your dental problems. Deep cleanings and the Perio Tray® are highly effective options that can eradicate oral bacteria. Once your gum disease is under control, Dr. Sluser can repair or replace your teeth. We provide crowns, bridges, and dentures, all made from strong and lifelike materials. We are particularly proud of our dental implants. These small metal posts can replace your dental roots and uphold a restoration that will never slip out of place.

Specialized Geriatric Dentistry

Dental care can be a daunting prospect in your senior years. Other health conditions, such as arthritis, can cause jaw stiffness. You may also find it uncomfortable to sit in the dental chair for an extended period of time. Dr. Sluser can administer several types of sedation, including IV sedation, to make dental care stress-free. Safe IV sedation will put you into a twilight sleep so that you will be unaware of what is going on during your treatment. Afterwards, you will remember little about the procedure, and you will simply enjoy your healthier, restored smile.

Contact Us for Outstanding Dental Care for Seniors

To learn more about geriatric dentistry and to receive the care you need, contact our office today.