It is said that by 2050 the rate of edentulism or the condition of being toothless is projected to slow down, according to the International & American Associations for Dental Research. This presents a huge impact on home dentistry care for seniors. It directly necessitates more prevalent preventive dental care for elderly. Also, it proves to be beneficial if you’re an elderly and a dentist can visit you at home.
But why is there a need for home dentistry for seniors?
- Elderly individuals have difficulty traveling.
Many elderly are confined to a wheelchair, indicating great challenges in traveling. Some individuals must even have oxygen, monitors or IV’s on them at all times. This also makes travel to and from a dental office difficult. Take into account those living in a large metropolis with limited parking, long walks, and crowded public transit systems where the travel is ten times harder.
- Some elderly could not afford the extensive costs associated with their travel.
Directly related to the previous point, those that need various medical equipment and constant medical attention may find that the cost of traveling to a dental office is actually much higher than the cost of receiving dental care at home. Some must even pay for a private nurse during the travel, as well as possible special transportation or equipment.
- Some elderly are not mentally prepared for the anxiety of a dental visit.
As aging individuals’ experiences become limited to only necessary activities within the home, their emotional grid for handling various experiences becomes limited as well. Some elderly even have physiological conditions, like dementia.
As people age there are new or different dental concerns to be aware of especially when they have health problems and take a lot of medications. Some of the most common dental problems for seniors include:
- Dry mouth. Often times medication produces this side effect or even adverse reactions. However, it may be due to more serious health problems, and should be checked by a dentist.
- Root decay. When teeth are exposed to decay-causing acids, they can lead to root deterioration. As gum tissue recedes from the tooth, the roots become exposed.
- Gum disease. Plague is the main culprit of gum disease but tobacco products, poor fitting dentures and certain diseases can create additional problems.
How Home Dental Care For Seniors Can Help
Seniors with limited mobility or multiple health issues may find it difficult to get the care they need, that’s why home dental care for seniors is a priority. A lot of geriatric dentists actually have a wide range of services they can give to elderly patients. Some of these services include:
- Emergency visits
- Scaling (to remove hard calculus)
- Teeth cleaning
- Small fillings
- New Dentures
- Repair broken dentures
- Reline old dentures
With technology upgrading year after year, it’s amazing how the field of dentistry can gain access even to home care services. As we all know, the main role of these professionals is to improve the smile or everyone, regardless of their age. Most importantly, handling the oral cavity with utmost care can bring out the most positive result in the quality of life.