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Biggest Dental Problems For People Over 50

The average adult over the age of 50 has already lost three or more teeth due to damage acquired over time. Nevertheless, teeth retention among American adults has improved drastically in previous years, thanks to better oral cleaning products and improved dental practices.

In the list below, you will learn what are the biggest dental problems for people over 50.

1. Missing Teeth

Missing teeth may not be much of a health concern, if the teeth were extracted properly. The loss does present an inconvenience due to the increased difficulty of chewing and biting however. For some, it is more of an aesthetic concern, so they end up with dentures or a dental bridge. Dental implants are the best replacements for missing teeth, but the time needed to complete the entire phase of dental implant surgery may take more than nine months, not to mention that it is an expensive procedure.

2. Tooth Decay

The rise of tooth decay cases among adults in their 50s is attributed to naturally weakening enamel of the teeth. As the changes progress, the roots of the teeth become more vulnerable to cavities.

3. Dry Mouth

Adults over 50 are more prone to dry mouth and dehydration in general. As the saliva that contains phosphate and calcium coats the teeth to prevent demineralization, the teeth become more resistant to cavities, and other tooth and gum infections. Unfortunately, there are many reasons connected to aging that drastically affect saliva production negatively.

For instance, certain medications decrease saliva production. Gum problems, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can also cause dry mouth. Smoking and decreased water intake are also common causes.

4. Gum Problems

Gingivitis and periodontitis are not uncommon among older people. Periodontitis, in particular, is commonly seen among the elderly, and those who had dental problems early on in life. The condition involves the deterioration of gum tissue. The spaces that develop within the gum tissue become places for bacteria to develop.

5. Tooth Crowding

Teeth at this age become more prone to plaque because the spaces between them become more narrow. This condition is known as teeth shifting. It is a natural phenomenon, that when not fixed early on, can cause tooth alignment problems.

6. Oral Cancer

The Oral Cancer Foundation says that this dreaded disease increases in occurrence as people age. Regular dental checkups with your Columbia Maryland dentist are an effective way to prevent development, and to notice any changes happening in the mouth.

What Are The Treatment Options For Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a gum disease that involves the inflammation of the soft tissue (gums) surrounding the teeth. Due to poor oral hygiene, bacteria that cause plaque and tartar breed below the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. This causes pockets or spaces between the gums, and the teeth which eventually become infected. Over time, the connective tissue, and the bones that hold the teeth start to break down. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.

Periodontitis can also increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Fortunately, this gum disease can be treated in different ways.

You have to visit a dentist first for proper diagnosis. When dentists near Dupont Circle acknowledge that you do have gum disease or periodontitis, you may try any of these options:

1. Tartar Removal

Your dentist will thoroughly remove calcified plaque (calculus), tartar, and other toxins that are deep-seated into the surface of the root. This process is known as root planing or scaling. Hand scaling or ultrasonic instruments are used for this process. In general, it causes little to no pain. In some cases, local anesthesia is administered. In some rare cases, a patient may need to undergo pain medication for a few days.

2. Oral Irrigator

Using an oral irrigator or a dental water jet is an effective way of removing plaque and dirt on the teeth and gums. This device streams water into the teeth to push away stubborn dirt and plaque, and helps keep your gums and teeth healthy.

3. Surgical Therapy

Surgical therapy is recommended when you have already undergone non-surgical therapies, and your periodontitis still persists. This procedure includes regeneration and repair of gingival and bony tissues, replacement of missing teeth, and putting in dental implants. Surgery is done to remove the pockets, restore attachments, provide a more conducive oral hygiene, and restore the patientâs normal function and aesthetics. It is done by a periodontist or a dentist that specializes in gum diseases. Local anesthesia is oftentimes administered, sometimes with conscious or intravenous sedation.

4. Oil Pulling

This method involves placing some oil (coconut, olive, sesame, or sunflower oil) in your mouth and swishing it for 15 to 20 minutes. You have to do this twice every day, once in the morning before eating anything, and again in the evening before going to sleep. You can either gargle with warm water or brush your teeth after the procedure.

Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush to prevent bacterial buildup. You should continue to take care of your teeth to ensure proper oral health. Flossing your teeth regularly helps remove plaque in between your teeth, keeping the gums healthy and clean.

Gingivitis Vs. Periodontitis

There are some people who mistake gingivitis and periodontitis as one gum disease only. This is incorrect since both are two different oral problems. Take the time to get to know the differences between the two.

Defining Gingivitis And Periodontitis

First of all, gingivitis is a gum disease. It refers to the inflammation of tissues that surround, and support the teeth. Varying in terms of severity, gingivitis is attributed mostly to poor oral hygiene.

On the other hand, periodontitis is also an inflammation but this time, it is the inflammation and infection of the bone below the teeth.

Causes of These Oral Diseases

In terms of what causes the diseases, gingivitis and periodontitis have one common denominator: bacteria. While it is true that even a healthy mouth is inhabited by at least 700 species of bacteria, left unmanaged, the bacteria that grow around teeth in the mouth, forms plaque, which eventually forms tartar. This bacteria produces a toxin that damages gum and bone tissue, and results in gum disease.

Other causes of gingivitis and periodontitis stem from the following:

Smoking and chewing tobacco: These practices damage the gums.

Hormonal changes: An increase in hormones correlates to the susceptibility of the gumsâ blood vessels to bacterial attacks.

Certain diseases like diabetes and cancer: They impair blood circulation, and affect the gums' ability to heal.

Medications: There are some medications that can increase your risk of getting gum disease. Check with your Burke VA dentist for these.

Crooked or overlapping teeth: Since they have areas that are harder to reach, plaque is more likely to build up.

Periodontitis As An Offshoot Of Gingivitis

This is one point that you should understand about these two oral diseases. When gingivitis is left untreated, it will evolve into periodontitis. The inflammation of the gums will get worse, to the extent that even the bone holding the teeth will be affected.

Treatment Options

Treating gingivitis is easier than addressing periodontitis. For one thing, periodontitis is a chronic disease which means that it needs to be monitored, and treated for a long time.

Both diseases, however, require almost the same procedures. Cleaning, which involves teeth scaling and planing, is usually the first step for treating both gingivitis and periodontitis. Medications are also prescribed and, if worse comes to worst, some surgery, such as flap surgery, and bone and tissue grafts, will be recommended as well.

Now that you have all these things cleared up, there is one thing for you to remember. If you want to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, you need to keep up with your oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and properly, as well as, visiting your dentist are basic things you can do to prevent these gum diseases.

What Is The Difference Between Ordinary Dental Cleaning And Deep Dental Cleaning?

Many patients are wondering whether to have an ordinary dental cleaning, or deep dental cleaning. The latter seems to be a more thorough procedure, making it the obvious choice. However, dental procedures are also a matter of necessity, sometimes of practicality.

Learn their differences so that you can pick the right one.

Ordinary cleaning, also known as routine teeth cleaning, is only meant as a preventive procedure done every six months. This is not meant to treat any existing tooth or periodontal disease, with the exception of minor oral problems to slow down the progression.

On the other hand, deep cleaning is considered a treatment given to patients with chronic cases of periodontal disease, gingivitis, and bone loss. These conditions can lead to more serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Bone loss, in particular, can lead to tooth loss as it loosens the grip of the teeth from the jaw.


Ordinary cleaning involves brushing, flossing, and scaling of teeth surfaces. Normally, all teeth are cleaned by removing the tartar, plaque, stains, and calculus from the surface. Only the area above the gum line is covered by the procedure.

No special medicine is given for ordinary cleaning. Only the usual dental tools, pressure sprays, brushes, and flosses are needed for it. However, any dentist in Annapolis, Maryland may require additional diagnostic tests if chronic periodontal disease, and bone loss are suspected.

On the other hand, deep cleaning is a more thorough procedure of scaling and root planing. Deep cleaning cleans the areas above and below the gum line, with the intention of removing all bacteria, hiding in the deep pockets of gum tissue. Root planing polishes the roots but only of the affected teeth.

The American Academy of Periodontology only recommends deep cleaning when the suspected problem is clearly supported by diagnostic procedures, such as periodontal probe and full-mouth X-rays.

Periodontal probe aims to measure the gum disease, and its present condition. Deep cleaning is normally not recommended when it only measures less than three millimeters, and no active bleeding is evident. However, it is usually recommended when the disease measures more than four millimeters, even without active bleeding.

A full-mouth X-ray is used to confirm the extent of bone loss in the jaw. It also pinpoints the teeth that need to be done.

Deep cleaning that involves the deepest gum pockets usually requires the use of injectable anesthesia. Antibiotic gel may be used in lieu of manual cleaning of the roots. Chlorhexidine may also be used to wash out the remaining bacteria between the gums.


Ordinary cleaning only takes 30 to 60 minutes. Deep cleaning, on the other hand, may require two to four sessions per quadrant. If the majority of the teeth are affected, it may take months before the procedure is finished.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease

Are your gums red and swollen? Are you constantly plagued by bad breath, even if you religiously brush your teeth three times a day? While wearing your partial dentures, do you suddenly feel like they are not fitted properly?

Bad news: You may have acquired some form of gum disease.

Although experiencing this kind of condition can sometimes be painful, do not worry too much because it can easily be treated. Once you notice sudden pain and swelling in your mouth, it is recommended that you go to the dentist immediately to prevent it from getting worse. This short article provides a list of the most common symptoms of gum disease.

General Symptoms

Gum disease can be a very silent disease. This means that it will take a little bit longer before you finally realize that you have it. But usually, a person suffering from gum problems will experience the following symptoms:

a. Swollen gums.

b. Sharp pain in the mouth.

c. Gums tend to bleed when eating food or brushing teeth.

d. Gums suddenly recede, making your teeth look longer.

e. Teeth start to become separated.

f. Bad breath that does not go away.

g. Pus in between gum tissue.

h. Partial dentures suddenly feel loose.

Advanced Gum Problems

During the advanced stages of chronic gingivitis, the patient's gums may suddenly recede, resulting in the exposure of a toothâs root. Having exposed roots mean that your teeth will become more sensitive to cold food and drinks.

In addition, the gaps in your teeth will mean that there will be deep pockets where food and plaque may accumulate.

When you lose a lot of gum tissue, there is a big chance that your teeth will fall out. Advanced gingivitis can affect a single tooth or your entire mouth. The changes in your gums can also happen slowly or rapidly, depending on your health.

If not treated immediately, the condition will get worse, and it will lead to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). More commonly known as trench mouth, this condition causes the gums to swell and shed gum tissue. In several cases, the gums can also be infested with open sores.

What Can You Do?

A lot of people already have gum disease, but they are not fully aware of its symptoms. They will only realize that they have this painful condition during the later stages. With that said, it is highly recommended that you visit your Dupont Circle dentistry office regularly, and maintain good oral hygiene.

A dentist can diagnose gum problems through several methods. First, they can measure the gums using a periodontal probe. This can also be used for measuring the gaps between your teeth.

Then, your hygienist will scan your teeth using an X-ray to check the roots. Your teeth will also be subjected to a sensitivity test to search for spots where the gums have receded.

Choosing The Right Family Dentist

Your oral health can be an indication of your overall body health. That is why it is essential that you find a family dentist who will not only cater to you but to your entire family. After all, it would be far more convenient if you and your family have one dentist, so that going to dental checkups and appointments would be more convenient.

But the important question now is whom should you choose as your oral health care provider? And in addition, will they be able to take care of your entire family's oral health needs?

You have to be really discerning when it comes to choosing the right family dentist since oral health is a serious matter. Fortunately, you can narrow down your search by looking at these key factors:

1. Training: The level of training and education is an important indication of whether the dentist can fulfill the needs of your whole family from the oldest to the youngest. In terms of education, all dentists are required to go to dental school to get their license. However, this is just the basic step. Find out if your dentist underwent continuing programs and educational trainings throughout time to keep up with the development of dental care techniques. Of course, being up to date is really a big advantage because you would want your family to get the full range of benefits offered by any advances and innovations in dental care.

2. Experience: How long has the dentist been practicing family dentistry in Sterling, VA? Remember that experience comes with reliability and skill. Donât be reluctant to ask about the procedures the dentist usually performs. This is also a good indication of how much experience they have.

3. Services: You have to be sure that all your oral health needs can be addressed by the dentist. Examine your familyâs needs and compare these to the services the dentist provides.

4. Personal Relations: Comfort is essential especially if there are children involved. A lot of kids, especially the younger ones, are apprehensive and anxious when visiting the dentist. In light of this, you should choose a dentist who works well with all members of the family. It is also crucial that you can relate to the dentist well and that they can explain dental health to you in the best way possible.

Do not rely merely on word of mouth as your primary means of choosing a dentist for your family. Remember, what might be good for another person might not necessarily be as good for you and your family. Conduct a little research both online and in person so that you can find the best dentist who will take care of your entire familyâs oral health care needs.

Quick Ffix Options For Tooth Chipping: Crowns Versus Fillings

Some people are overconfident of their teeth's capacity to withstand abuse, until the enamel chips or breaks. You have probably seen people tear beer caps off bottles with their teeth, and concluded that trying the feat on your own would not hurt. Now, you have a broken tooth, and you are kicking yourself for giving in to your buddies' egging. The damage has been done though, and you will have to pay for restorations, if you want to face your friends with dignity again. Fortunately, dental crowns will give you a free pass towards a better smile. Hopefully, it will not take too long to find an available provider of emergency dental care in Burke, VA!

You could be confusing dental crowns with dental fillings. Both have essentially the same purpose of restoring decayed or broken tooth, but dental fillings are often applied, and hardened on the spot. Dental crowns are prepped first by a ceramist, before they are fitted onto your teeth during your next dental visit. Dental crowns cover the entire top surface of the tooth, while fillings replace the lost enamel, by filling in the gaping hole left by chipping or tooth decay. This is the reason why some fillings look odd and irregular upon closer inspection, and crowns are barely noticeable.

Dental crowns need plenty of room so they can firmly bond with the enamel. This means that your dentist has to shave a chunk off your broken tooth to make room for the crown. Fillings, on the other hand, only replace the area that was lost due to damage or decay, so there is no need to shave much enamel for an amalgam or porcelain filling. Dental crowns have a huge advantage over fillings in terms of durability; they can last for up to fifteen years if you maintain proper oral hygiene. Fillings could fall off after four years, especially if your lifestyle puts the treated tooth under a lot of strain. Some people do not even notice that they have swallowed a filling, until the tooth pain begins.

Both treatments use the same types of materials. Hands down, porcelain crowns are the most popular, since they neatly blend in with the natural color of the teeth. Porcelain is harder than tooth enamel, though, and a porcelain crown could erode the opposing tooth to a nub if you have a nasty habit of grinding your teeth. Gold crowns are malleable, so they exert less pressure on the enamel, but their unsightly color discourages many people from getting them. Porcelain crowns are often used for front teeth because of their aesthetic qualities, and gold crowns are placed on back teeth because they are less prone to chipping, and they will withstand all the chewing.

Porcelain-metal hybrid crowns are also used to optimize the benefit of both materials, but the opaque white shield that covers the metal substructure will look odd upon closer inspection. Natural teeth are translucent, and it would look strange if one tooth sticks out like a sore thumb. You could always remedy the difference with dental veneers. If the damage to your teeth could not be fixed with fillings, then dental crowns will be necessary in replacing the broken tooth you have.