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What You Should Know About Dental Health and Aging

Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne believes in proactive dental care. It’s why we always encourage our patients to get regular checkups for early detection of any issues. If you wait until you can tell there’s a problem to set an appointment, there’s a greater chance that significant damage has already been done to your teeth and gums. And while regular dental checkups are important at every stage of one’s life, they are especially vital for older individuals, who have specific risks for oral problems. The following article explains why it is critical to visit the dentist at least twice a year as you grow older:

Key Points

  • The demographic of older adults (i.e., 65 years of age and older) is growing and likely will be an increasingly large part of dental practice in the coming years.
  • Although better than in years past, the typical aging patient’s baseline health state can be complicated by comorbid conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus) and physiologic changes associated with aging.
  • Older adults may regularly use several prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, making them vulnerable to medication errors, drug interactions or adverse drug reactions.
  • Potential physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments associated with aging may make oral health self-care and patient education/communications challenging.
  • Dental conditions associated with aging include dry mouth (xerostomia), root and coronal caries, and periodontitis; patients may show increased sensitivity to drugs used in dentistry, including local anesthetics and analgesics. Continue reading at American Dental Association

Medication Side Effects

Older individuals take medications for a variety of health concerns. Many of these remedies can negatively effect your smile. For instance, a common side effect of many medications is dry mouth. You may not even realize how important saliva production is for your oral health. An overly dry mouth can allow your teeth to become a plaque breeding ground since saliva flushes away bacteria. Read more about medications and oral health here:

The Link Between Medications and Cavities

You may wonder why you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years. As we get older, we enter a second round of cavity prone years. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.This is just one reason why it’s so important to tell your dentist about any medications that you’re taking. Your dentist can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and prevent cavities. Here are some common recommendations:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.

Understanding the Problem

Dental problems are among the most common health problems experienced by older adults. In fact, people over 65 with natural teeth have more tooth decay than any other age group and thus continue to need a yearly visit to the dentist.

Older people produce less saliva which is needed to clean the teeth. Gums shrink with age, exposing the tooth to decay or infection. Furthermore, older persons may have difficulty flossing and brushing because of poor vision or problems moving their arms, wrists, and hands.

Dental problems can lead to poor nutrition. Unfortunately, these problems are often not attended to by older persons, particularly men. More details at Mouth Healthy

Seniors health advocacy group Health in Aging has compiled a list of the five most common dental issues for older adults. Here is an excerpt from the full list.

Gum Disease
Plaque grows on the surface of the teeth. The bacteria found in plaque give off acids that cause gum disease. To prevent gum disease and decay, make sure the person you are caring for removes plaque daily by brushing and flossing the teeth. An electric toothbrush may be easier for the person to use, but ask the dentist or dental hygienist to demonstrate how to use it.

Poor Fitting Dentures
Dentures need to be checked and refitted on a regular basis because they can become loose or uncomfortable. Poor fitting dentures may drop when a person speaks, and they can cause chewing problems that can lead to poor nutrition. Additional info at Health in Aging

It’s Never Too Late To Improve Your Oral Health

If it’s been awhile since your last dental checkup, book an appointment at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today. Dr. Robert Harrell has been named one of the Charlotte metro region’s top dentists year-after-year in Charlotte magazine. Adult Dentistry is particularly known for it’s use of the latest technology to provide the most advanced, most comfortable experience possible.

Call Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne now at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on our website to make an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Gum disease is a smile killer

Gum disease can destroy a beautiful smile. It can affect people of all ages, although it is most commonly diagnosed in adults. The deceptive part is that it can develop slowly and pain is not initially a concern in most cases. By the time many people begin to notice that they have a serious issue with the health of their gums, their teeth may already be severely compromised.

Don’t panic

The good news is that in most instances, gum disease can be prevented. But, even if you suspect that you may have gum disease, don’t panic. The condition can be treated with the care and attention of a great dentist like Dr. Robert Harrell at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne. In the early stages, gum disease can often be reversed.

Pay attention to your mouth

It is important for you to be an advocate for your own oral health by paying attention every time you brush your teeth. Take notice of any changes in your mouth and be sure to share them with your dental care team. Anything that seems or feels out of the ordinary is worth mentioning. Being proactive in your dental health and communicating with your dentist is the best way to get the treatment you need. Keeping your regularly scheduled check-up appointments is vital for staying healthy and minimizing your risk for gum disease.

The birth of gum disease

Our gums have a huge responsibility to help maintain the health of our mouths. They work together with bone to hold the teeth in position. Gum disease drastically alters the attachment between our teeth and our gums. Plaque is the bad guy. This sticky and clear substance is full of bacteria. Plaque forms on a daily basis on your teeth and along your gum line. Flossing and brushing every day is the only way to adequately remove it. Plaque transforms into calculus, commonly known as tartar, when it is not removed properly.

Tartar forms hard deposits on your teeth and simple flossing and brushing will not remove it. Your dental hygienist will have to use a scaler to chip the tartar away. At Adult Dentistry, ultrasonic scalers are used to offer the deepest yet least invasive cleaning possible. Gum disease sets in if proper oral care is not maintained on a consistent basis. Tartar can cause infection to occur at the point of attachment where the gums meet the teeth. Red, inflamed gums that bleed during brushing often indicate the early stages of gum disease.

Signs to watch for:

  • Traces of blood in your spit or bloody residue on your toothbrush
  • Puffy, irritated or bleeding gums
  • Changes in the color of your gums

If gum disease is allowed to progress without treatment, teeth can become loose. Some individuals will eventually experience tooth loss as the gums become increasingly destabilized. The best way to ensure that you don’t become a victim of gum disease is to brush your teeth after every meal, floss on a daily basis and visit the dentist for regular professional cleanings.

Every time you have a dental appointment, the hygienist will check to see if there are any indications of gum disease. This is one of the main reasons maintaining a regular dental exam schedule is vital to your oral health. With the early stages of gum disease often going undetected by patients, it is helpful to have the experienced eyes of your dentist and hygienist available to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

If it has been a while since you’ve had a complete dental exam, contact Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today to schedule a visit with Dr. Harrell. He is recognized as one of the city’s top dentists year-after-year by Charlotte Magazine. Call Adult Dentistry now at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to make an appointment.

The importance of regular teeth cleanings and dental check-ups

Visiting the dentist can be a simple, anxiety-free and educational experience, if you are seeing the right dentist. Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings are a vital component of achieving the best oral health possible. Putting off your visits due to a busy schedule or anxiety about dental treatments can compromise the quality of your smile down the road.

Specializing in supreme comfort

Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne can make your teeth cleaning appointments quick and relaxing. Our office aims to provide you with a memorable experience, for all the right reasons. Our skilled and compassionate staff is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Keeping our patient’s comfortable and happy while we provide them with the best smile possible is always our top priority.

Utilizing the Latest Technology

Our team is committed to offering you the best customer service and dental care possible. We rely on the latest dental advancements to provide you with lasting results that showcase your smile. For example, say goodbye to traditional film x-rays. Our office utilizes accurate, digital x-ray technology. A fast and effective way to immediately view the condition of your teeth.

As said earlier, regular teeth cleanings and dental check-ups can prevent you from pain and expensive repairs in the future. If the thought of metal teeth scrapers makes you cringe, you don’t need to neglect your care over it any longer. Our office relies on the latest ultrasonic scrapers to keep your teeth deposit-free and looking and feeling their best.

The importance of keeping your dental health up-to-date

Being proactive in your oral care can help you get the most out of your smile. Untreated dental issues seldom resolve themselves. Instead, they continue to worsen and negatively impact your smile.

  • Early detection and correction often costs much less than fixing longstanding issues.
  • Unresolved bite problems can affect your general health by resulting in chronic headaches and other painful conditions.
  • Teeth grinding and clenching issues can be addressed before they cause deterioration.
  • You can avoid the intensive deep cleaning treatments that may be required if you have missed numerous appointments.
  • In addition to your teeth, check-ups review your tongue, gums, cheeks, throat and face to assess the general health of these body parts.
  • Gum disease can negatively affect the health of your entire body, particularly with regard to your heart health. Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women can be especially susceptible to health problems related to plaque bacteria.
  • Sedation dentistry is an option if you have been avoiding appointments due to dental anxiety. Please share your feelings with Dr. Robert Harrell, the head of our Adult Dentistry team, so that we can address these concerns and provide you with fear-free care.
  • You are being a good dental role model for your children when you brush and floss every day and set regular dental appointments to have your teeth cleaned. This can help them form a lifetime of healthy dental habits.

Book your next appointment with us

At Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne, we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming, worry-free, judgement-free atmosphere where our patients receive the best dental care possible. Don’t put it off any longer; schedule your teeth cleaning and check-up today. Call Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to set your appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Straight Teeth By The Holidays With Invisalign

Would you like to have a brilliant new smile for this years’ holiday photos? If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, Invisalign can quickly and easily make your dental goals a reality. In just a few short months these clear, removable aligners can give you the ideal smile you’ve long dreamed of.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign straightens your teeth using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. They gradually and gently shift your teeth into place. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference to your daily life. More details from Invisalign

A variety of misalignment issues can be fixed with Invisalign including: crossbites, overbites, open bites and underbites. Invisalign can address over-crowding issues as well. Dr. Robert Harrell and his highly skilled team at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne have created countless beautiful smiles with Invisalign and they want you to be their next satisfied patient. Keep reading to learn more about just a few of the smile issues Invisalign can correct.

Treatable Cases

From mild cases of crooked teeth and protruding teeth, to much more difficult dental problems involving serious malocclusion, overbite, or underbite, Invisalign® effectively corrects a wide variety of dental problems. Whether your teeth are widely gapped, overly crowded or somewhere in between, Invisalign has an affordable teeth straightening option for you.

Gapped Teeth

Gaps between teeth can occur with abnormal continued growth of the jawbone. Missing teeth can also cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the extra space, creating gaps in your teeth. Spacing issues and gaps between teeth can lead to gum problems (due to lack of protection by the teeth), periodontal pockets and increased risk of periodontal disease.

Overbite

Overbite occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It’s typically caused by genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth. This can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth, and can cause painful jaw and joint problems. Learn more at Invisalign

More than Just a Gorgeous Smile

Helping our clients achieve the highest standard of oral health is our goal at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne. Straight teeth (that are not wrapped in wire braces) are an important part of that mission because they are easier to clean and maintain. The benefits of a healthy smile go well beyond simple aethestics.

Healthier Teeth And Gums

Swollen, red gums can often be the result of having teeth that are crowded or too widely spaced. Unfortunately, these are also signs of periodontal disease. When teeth are properly aligned, it helps the gums fit more securely around the teeth, allowing for the strongest and healthiest defense against potential periodontal problems. That’s where Invisalign comes in. The comfortable and clear aligners gently and gradually begin to move your teeth into the proper position — without unsightly brackets and wires.

Easier Cleaning

One of the biggest challenges of having braces is removing all the food that gets trapped in the brackets and wires. This can often lead to plaque buildup and eventually tooth decay. With Invisalign, the aligners are removable, so it’s easy to continue brushing and flossing your teeth the way you normally do. Read more at Invisalign

Book An Invisalign Consultation Today

If you would like to have straighter teeth and a more dazzling smile, schedule a free, no obligation smile consultation with Dr. Harrell. Call 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to set your appointment. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted.

 

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