Dental care is essential for everyone, but dental work for senior citizens is just as – if not more – important.

Why? The elderly can experience a variety of dental health issues, from gum disease to tooth loss. Many seniors discover they need more dental work as they age and need to rely on a professional to provide specialized senior dental care.

The kind of dental care for seniors we provide at Northside Dental Co. helps elderly adults in Richmond, VA, maintain their overall oral hygiene and prevent more serious oral health problems from developing.

In this article, we’ll look at elderly dental care and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about seniors and dental care, such as:

  • What dental issues do seniors face as they age?
  • How important is mouth care for elderly adults?
  • Do all dentists provide elderly dental care?
  • What dental services for the elderly are most common?
  • How much are dental services for seniors without insurance?
  • How can I find affordable dentists for seniors?
  • How do I find senior dental care near me?

Let’s start by looking at some of the most common dental issues seniors might experience.

Elderly Dental Care: What Are The Most Common Issues?

When it comes to seniors and dental care, age can often bring about a host of dental issues.

Here are some of the most common elderly dental care problems.

Tooth Decay

Dentists see a lot of tooth decay when providing dental care for seniors. That’s because teeth usually become more brittle and prone to cracking with age.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that form plaque on teeth. The bacteria eats away at the enamel, resulting in a hole (or cavity). If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to tooth loss.

Gum Disease

Gum disease (gingivitis) occurs as bacteria grow on the gums, leading to inflammation, bleeding, or pain.

Gum disease is often the result of poor oral hygiene, making dental services for the elderly, like regular brushing and flossing, critical.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss and even heart problems. The CDC found that seniors who suffer from COPD and other cardiovascular diseases are at a higher risk for gum disease and periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a more serious form of gum disease. It can lead to inflammation, bleeding, and even tooth loss. Periodontal disease is often the result of poor oral hygiene and not treating gum disease when it first arises.

Tooth Loss or Broken Teeth

One of the most severe senior dental care issues is tooth loss or broken teeth. In fact, a quarter of adults over 65 have few to no natural teeth left.

Any dentist for elderly adults will tell you tooth loss is associated with a number of different issues, including decay, gum disease, and trauma.

If you’re experiencing tooth loss, it’s important to seek out affordable dentists for seniors as soon as possible. Missing or broken teeth aren’t just unsightly; they can actually lead to further dental issues. Your dentist may recommend dental implants or dentures to replace lost teeth.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious disease caused by the growth of abnormal cells in the mouth and can affect any area of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, or palate. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

Oral cancer typically presents itself in patients over the age of 40. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often undetected until it’s in its later stages. That is why it’s critical to get regular oral cancer screenings from a trained dentist for elderly patients.

Proper Mouth Care for Elderly Adults

So, what does it look like for seniors to take care of their mouth and teeth?

There are several things elderly adults can do to take care of their teeth as they age. Here are a few tips on dental care for seniors.

Practice Dental Hygiene

One of the best ways to take care of your teeth is to practice proper mouth care for the elderly. At its core, proper care includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Using mouthwash

Additionally, taking proper care of your dentures or removable bridges (if applicable) is key to ensuring long-term oral health into your old age.

See A Dentist Regularly

It’s important to see a dentist regularly, even if you aren’t experiencing any dental problems. Routine visits with a dentist for the elderly can help catch any problems early on – before they get too serious.

Visiting a dentist for the elderly and getting any necessary dental work for senior citizens will help to protect your teeth and prevent any senior dental care issues from arising. Your dentist will perform preventive dental work by removing plaque and tartar buildup, which helps prevent gum disease. Visiting your dentist can also help keep your denture or other appliances clean and working properly.

In addition, elderly adults commonly struggle with xerostomia (dry mouth) due to taking lots of medications. Dry mouth can cause rampant decay if not treated regularly. Seniors who do have xerostomia can benefit from more frequent dental cleanings and specific dry mouth treatments. 

Watch What You Eat and Drink

One of the best ways to protect your teeth (and your overall health!) is to watch what you eat. Try to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages because they can cause tooth decay. You should also avoid hard, crunchy foods, which can damage or break your teeth.

Senior Dental Care: What Costs Should I Expect?

Most insurance covers dental care for those over the age of 65. However, there might be some costs that you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Insurance usually covers common procedures, but larger treatments and appliances may only be partially covered or subsidized.

Here are a few of the most common dental procedures and the associated costs of these dental services for senior citizens without insurance:

  • Routine cleaning: $90 to $125
  • Comprehensive dental cleaning; $350 to $400 (including x-rays, cleaning, and exam)
  • Dentures: $500 to $4,000
  • Crowns: $500 to $3,000
  • Bridges: $1,500 to $15,000 (implant-supported)

Remember, while the cost of dental care can vary widely, many seniors can get reasonable dental insurance through AARP or Medicare. Some dental offices also offer membership savings plans to help alleviate the financial burden for elderly dental care.

The Best Dental Work For Senior Citizens In Richmond, VA

Seniors often face a number of unique oral health issues, such as tooth loss, gum disease, and oral cancer. Knowing the risks, as well as the answers to some common questions about dental work for senior citizens will help you find an affordable dentist for seniors

It’s essential to take care of your teeth no matter your age, but dental care for seniors is especially important. 

Are you wondering:

  • How can you take care of your teeth as you get older?
  • Do all dentists provide elderly dental care?
  • What dental services for the elderly are most common?
  • How much are dental services for seniors without insurance?
  • How can I find affordable dentists for seniors?
  • How do I find senior dental care near me?

If you live in Richmond, Virginia, and are looking for an incredible dentist for the elderly, Northside Dental Co. is here to help.

We offer a wide range of dental work for senior citizens, including routine cleanings, dentures, bridges, and more. Whether you need an expert opinion on senior dental care or just want a compassionate and caring team to ensure your elderly dental care is top-notch, connect with us today.

Schedule an appointment today to talk about your senior dental care needs!