Periodontal Treatment in Older Adults
Advancing age puts elderly people at risk for plenty of oral health issues. One of the common oral health problems is periodontal disease. If left untreated, gums can start pulling away from the teeth and form deep pockets.
When this happens, the food particles and plaque starts collecting. Advanced gum disease can even destroy the bones, gums, and ligaments supporting the teeth, thereby resulting in tooth loss.
However, with regular dental visits, it can be treated or prevented wholly. If you are a senior and have a tight budget, get periodontal treatment in NJ at FaktorDMD.
They offer their dental care services at a reduced price. The expert periodontist specialist will treat and effectively prevents periodontal disease and periodontitis.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal is an infection of the regions surrounding the patients’ teeth. It occurs when bacteria infect the gums, cementum, periodontal ligaments, and alveolar bone.
Gum disease has three stages – gingivitis (most common and least severe), followed by periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. It is usually painless, which means many adults won’t know they have it until it becomes more advanced.
What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease or Periodontitis?
Symptoms to look for include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain while chewing food
- Soft or bleeding gums
- Wear and tear of gums and tissues supporting the teeth
- The sensitivity to cold or heat
- Receding gums
- Teeth become loose (if the untreated tooth extraction may be required)
Why Are Seniors More Prone?
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease that gets worse with age due to a number of reasons. Age-associated biological changes in the periodontal tissues could pose more risk like periodontal diseases.
- Receding Gums
It is the common side effect of aging and can lead to overly aggressive brushing and flossing.
- Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is also the big reason behind the periodontal disease in aging adults. It is typically due to the use of medication.
- Mobility Issues
Seniors are also prone to periodontal disease due to restricted dexterity or mobility. This makes regular trips to the dentist extremely crucial.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
Treatment may be performed by a periodontist, a dental hygienist or a dentist. Before the treatment, the expert doctor deeply cleans the pockets around the teeth of patients.
It prevents damage to the nearby bone. Depending on the severity and type of periodontal disease, dental experts choose the best treatment option.
For a successful periodontist treatment, the doctor also tells seniors to adopt a healthy oral care routine, stop tobacco use and manage health illnesses that may impact dental health.
1. Non-Surgical Treatments
If periodontitis is not advanced, the gum treatment may involve minimally invasive procedures such as:
- Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)
Scaling eliminates bacteria and tartar from the surfaces of the tooth and beneath your gums. The dental specialist performs it using a laser or an ultrasonic device.
However, root planing makes the root surfaces smooth by reducing the further buildup of bacteria and tartar. It also removes bacterial byproducts that cause inflammation and delay healing.
Doctors also advise oral or topical antibiotics to older adults to control bacterial infection. Oral antibiotics fully eliminate infection-causing bacteria.
However, the dental professional use topical antibiotics like antibiotic mouth rinses or the gels containing antibiotics in the space between the damaged gums and teeth after deep cleaning.
2. Surgical Treatments
If seniors have advanced periodontitis, the treatment may need periodontal surgery like:
- Flap Surgery (i.e. Pocket Reduction Surgery)
Flap surgery is the technique used to treat and repair periodontal pockets. The periodontist makes a small incision in the gum tissue.
This removes diseased tissue inside the pocket and offers access to the root surface of teeth for in-depth cleaning. After that, the doctor closes the “flap” and seals the region.
- Bone Grafting
Bone Grafting is a minor surgical process performed when periodontitis has destroyed the bone nearby the tooth root. In this, the doctor makes the incision in the gum to get access to the bone beneath it.
After that, the grafting material is added. The bone graft prevents tooth loss and also serves as a platform for the regrowth of the natural bone.
While periodontal disease might sound scary for the seniors, it can be avoided quickly by embracing a positive oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist every six months.