As we age it is important to contemplate our future dental needs. Although the basic premise of good dental health is regular check-ups, as we age it becomes more important to have a regular maintenance program in place.
The mouth is a harsh environment. It is wet, acidic and constantly in use chewing and grinding, so it is likely some previously restored teeth may require replacement as they wear out over time.
Dental techniques have become more conservative over the years; however, many aging patients may have received lots of large restorations that may not last them through their twilight years.
Of course, it may not be the fillings that are failing. Large fillings placed many years ago may have weakened the remaining tooth structure. Cracks may be propagating through the tooth, which may require crowns to hold the rest of the tooth together. Equally, crowns placed twenty or thirty years ago may now not meet the modern aesthetic requirements.
Each of these situations may require some “maintenance” over a certain time frame. This time frame may be short, or extended. However, to help you plan your dental needs, it is always a good idea to at least establish a thought process around your particular time line.
Not all patients are aware some dental treatment may take many months to complete. If you know or suspect you may require extensive rehabilitation, postponing treatment may interfere with that long awaited overseas holiday.
Remember, good oral health has been linked to good overall health. Patients with untreated gum disease and inflammation of the gum tissues have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and many other health issues.
It is never too late to improve your oral home care habits. Ideally brushing twice a day, flossing and using any other interproximal brushes that may be required, together with a fluoridated toothpaste is the basis of good oral health.
Maintaining adequate home care will ensure you are doing your part to reduce the likelihood of dental work being required in the future.
It is worthwhile discussing your future needs with your dentist so that together you may develop a functional treatment plan that will give you a working knowledge of exactly what is going on in your mouth. Not only will this help educate you as to you current and future dental needs, it will also help you plan for the future.
B.D.S(Hons).(Syd). MDSc (Melb, Grad.Dip.Clin.Dent (Oral Implants), Grad.Dip.Clin.Dent (Conscious Sedation & Pain Control), FRACDS, FPFA, Senior Clinical Associate (Uni of Syd), Dental Surgeon.