Although the basics of good oral health are the same regardless of age, seniors have certain special dental needs. Here are some questions we get asked frequently at SF Dental.

Why am I getting more cavities than I used to?

Many people find that they get cavities more easily as they age. This can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the most common causes for older adults is receding gum tissue. The tooth roots are designed to be protected by the gums. If those roots become exposed, they are more likely to get infected by bacteria, leading to cavities. Other common causes include dry mouth, medication, and certain types of health conditions.

Does the risk of oral cancer increase as I age?

Unfortunately, yes, people are statistically more likely to develop oral cancer as they age. That’s why we examine the tissues in your mouth closely during your dental checkup. In addition, if you smoke or drink heavily, your risk will be higher.

I never used to have sensitive teeth but now I do. Why?

Increased tooth sensitivity is common as people age. Sometimes it is caused by receding gums, so the sensitivity can be treated through restoration techniques such as Chao Pinhole. In other cases, the solution can be as simple as switching toothpastes.

I no longer have teeth, only dentures. Do I still need to go to the dentist?

Yes, you should still visit the dentist, even if you lose all your teeth. Oral health goes beyond just the teeth themselves. Infections in your gums can spread through the jaw, head and neck. Dentists also check for signs of oral cancer, which can develop unexpectedly. Also, the fit of your dentures will need to be adjusted from time to time.

My dentures feel loose. Should I see a dentist?

Yes, you should come in as soon as possible. Dentures are designed to fit perfectly in your mouth. If there is any looseness, the dentures can cause discomfort and harm the tissues in your mouth. As you age, the gums and bone structure of your mouth change. Periodic denture adjustments are usually necessary to compensate for this.

Can I replace my dentures with implants?

In many cases, yes, but it depends on the bone structure of your jaw and several other factors. Although implants are often a good solution for missing teeth, you need to have enough bone in your jaw to create a strong support for the implant posts. Dental implants can also be risky for individuals with certain health complications, including diabetes and osteoporosis. If you are interested in implants, please let us know and we’ll evaluate whether or not they are a good choice for you.

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