Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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A dental bridge or partial denture with a false tooth resting above the gums will certainly replace a missing tooth. But they won't replace it as effectively as an implant. Dental implants are small titanium alloy rods placed in your jaw that function like a tooth's natural root. A natural-looking prosthetic porcelain tooth is then attached to the implant. An implant is an artificial tooth and root, whereas other options are just artificial teeth. But because implantation requires surgery, it's natural to wonder—is it going to be risky?

Default Option

The benefits of a dental implant far outweigh any risks. And these risks happen to be very minor. Even though having a tooth replaced with an implant is classed as an elective procedure, it has become the standard, default option for replacing a permanent tooth. The implant's ability to replicate the function of both a natural tooth and its root means that the restoration can withstand a lot of bite pressure. This pressure is supported by your jawbone—unlike other dental bridges or dentures where pressure is directed onto your gums. Because the procedure has become the standard treatment for replacing a tooth, there are very few risks associated with it.

Sensitivity and Allergy

One of the possible risks can be quickly eliminated. The implant itself is titanium alloy. This section is permanently embedded in your jaw, with the bone then healing around the metal. There's a small risk of irritation and implant rejection for those who have a titanium allergy. This form of allergy isn't common, but you will be asked about it. For an implant to be effective, it must be biocompatible with its host. However, if you're in the minority of people who are affected by a titanium allergy, your dentist can make other arrangements. It's also possible for an implant to be made from zirconia—a type of ultra-strong porcelain.

Implant Aftercare

Further risks associated with a dental implant are mostly self-inflicted. You need to be sure that you follow your dentist's instructions to the letter. Implant aftercare is crucial, and you must do everything your dentist tells you in terms of keeping your implant clean. An implant is sensitive to bacterial infection as it heals, and a serious infection can even prevent the implant from integrating with your bone—which is essential for it to work. Keep your implant clean as per your dentist's instructions and you won't have much to be concerned about. But should you notice any odd swelling or discomfort, please consult your dentist.

No medical procedure is without risk, but with dental implants, the risk is extremely low and is almost entirely avoidable.

To learn more about dental implants, contact a dentist in your area.