Oral health directly affects overall health and quality of life. In fact, dental disease is a common cause of medical and emergency room visits, according to the American Dental Association. Good oral health is essential to healthy aging and to discuss the topic of senior dental care, we have consulted with Dr. Michael Monokian, Partner and Cosmetic Dentist at Monokian Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.
- Why is dental care important for seniors? Routine dental care is important throughout everyone’s life. Dental care for seniors is no different. Routine dental care plays an essential role in contributing to overall health and wellness. Improved oral health has been shown to have a direct impact on improved systemic health. For example, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, and many more are directly impacted by the health of the gums or lack thereof.
- What happens to our teeth as we age?
There are multiple things that happen to our teeth and gums as we age:
- There is a common occurrence of dry mouth due to medications and decreased salivary flow with age. The dry mouth can have a very large impact on cavities due to the saliva’s typical ability to fight them off.
- We also tend to see more gum recession in the senior community. Gum recession is a direct result of bone loss around the teeth. As the gums recede, roots are exposed, contributing to sensitivity and an increased prevalence of cavities due to a lack of protective enamel on the root surface.
- We also see more tooth wear and structural damage (such as cracks and fractures) on the teeth due to natural wear and tear and sometimes unprotected clenching and grinding.
- What are some common oral health problems in older adults? Older adults are more prone to having gum disease, gum recession, tooth wear, and cavities.
- What can seniors expect during a dental exam? At our new patient examination, the dental assistants take a full set of X-rays and photographs for diagnostic purposes. The doctor then spends about 50 minutes with the patient, getting to know them and examining all aspects of their oral health. We have a philosophy that we want to help patients achieve the highest level of dental health that they desire, recognizing that different patients have different desires. We believe in showing patients everything that we see using the photographs that are taken and giving patients treatment options if needed.
- How to improve dental health for seniors – The key to improving oral health is not only routine dental care but also consistent home care. Brushing and flossing are integral parts of maintaining healthy teeth and healthy gums. If a senior is experiencing dry mouth, it is crucial that we try to stimulate salivary flow to decrease the dry mouth and decrease the risk for cavities.
Meet Dr. Michael Monokian (“Dr. Mike”)
Dr. Mike has been practicing dentistry since 2005 at the Temple Dental clinics and then as a Partner and Cosmetic Dentist at Monokian Family & Cosmetic Dentistry since 2007. Every day he is thankful that he chose to follow his passion to become a cosmetic dentist. He takes great pride in educating and treating patients so that they achieve supreme oral health, which in turn helps the overall health of the entire body.
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Dr. Mike has always been extremely creative and when he realized he could take his creativity and harness it into doing cosmetic dentistry it sealed his fate. Being an innate perfectionist, dentistry is the perfect field for him. He loves to make the perfect smile for his patients; both aesthetically and functionally. As well as practicing dentistry, Dr. Mike is sought after by the dental community to lecture and train other Dentists and Specialists across the US. His expertise in Cosmetic Dentistry and Dental Occlusion, alongside his ability to explain complex dentistry in more simplified teachings, is paving the way for dentists across the US to perform high quality dentistry for their patients as well.