The best dental techniques for older adults

Late in life it is normal for everyone's teeth to lose strength, which means we can’t eat all the same delicious foods we did earlier on and sometimes we can't even interact the same socially. Fortunately, there are several dental procedures available to help either restore or completely replace weakened, decaying or destroyed teeth.

02-21 toothbrushDentures are very common among seniors. They replace all teeth and can be made to look like one’s natural teeth, according to the American Dental Association, and they provide support for cheeks and lips to prevent muscles from sagging.

Positive effects include the ability to eat a variety of food and to speak more clearly.

To care for dentures, patients should treat them like their natural teeth and practice good oral hygiene. Dentures should be cleaned each day with soft bristles and liquid soap, and kept in water when not being worn.

Patients should expect discomfort or odd feelings while getting adjusted to them for the first couple weeks. They can start by eating soft foods at first, keeping the pressure even by chewing on both sides of the mouth. They should not be worn 24 hours a day because tissue will become aggravated.

If a patient has large fillings, a fractured or weakened tooth, he or she can benefit from a dental crown, also known as a cap. A crown is designed to fit over a tooth to restore and strengthen a weak tooth. Also, teeth treated with a root canal can benefit from crowns to prevent them from breaking.

Another reason to get a crown is if your teeth are discolored or to cover up unnatural-looking dental work.

At the dentist, the decay will be removed from affected teeth, to make an impression. The patient will receive a temporary crown and then a permanent crown will be installed during the next visit.

To care for crowns, it's important to be diligent with everyday maintenance or problems can occur after placement. When wearing temporary crowns prior to permanent placement, it's important to avoid sticky and hard foods because they can easily break.

And, of course, proper hygiene must be maintained. Rinsing the mouth daily with mouthwash, brushing with soft bristles and gently flossing without snapping the thread. are all necessary in keeping the mouth healthy.

Cosmetic bonding is another common dental treatment to restore decayed or damaged teeth, reshape and whiten them. First, thin layers of bonding material is put on the surface of the teeth and then the dentist uses a light to place the bond, and polishes the teeth.

Bonding is one of the most affordable cosmetic dental procedures out there but is often used by dentists to treat small or temporary problems because the material used in bonds does not resist stains as efficiently as crowns do.

On the up side, bonding takes the least amount of time, does not require anesthesia, and takes away the least amount of tooth enamel from teeth.

To maintain healthy dental bonds, it is necessary to take special care to make sure they do not stain or chip. Reducing intake of coffee, red wine and tea is a good way to keep them bright, according to Additionally, habits like nail-biting, smoking and chewing on hard objects like ice should be nipped in the bud.

Caroline Young is a guest contributor from