Dental restorations, dentures… the oral health of older people

Dossier : Senior citizens: take care of your mouth

Dental implants, denture

The bacterial flora is no different for wearers of dentures or restorations. It isn't more or less aggressive. However, wearing implants or dentures can increase the number of places where food debris can become lodged which can promote the formation of dental plaque, bad breath and soft gums.

Therefore, careful and thorough cleaning is essential.

DENTAL RESTORATIONS

When replacing a tooth, an implant may be suggested. The dentist works in two stages:

Stage 1: They check that the bone tissue into which the implant is to be fixed is strong enough. Then, they will open the gum and fix a titanium root into the jawbone. It's necessary to wait several months to ensure that the body accepts the artificial root.

Stage 2: If everything goes to plan, the gum is opened up again and a crown is screwed into the root.

Throughout this process, good oral hygiene is essential to prevent infections.

DENTURES

Dentures are used for several reasons:

  • To reinforce a loose tooth
  • To replace one or more missing teeth
  • In particular, they allow older people to maintain a good chewing function

Fixed restorations (e.g. crowns or bridges) are fixed into existing teeth. They cover or rest on them to provide reinforcement. Partial or complete dentures replace existing teeth.

ORAL HYGIENE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS WHO WEAR A DENTURE OR RESTORATION

A denture or restoration requires as much maintenance as real teeth. Of course, there is no risk of cavities on a denture or restoration, but dental plaque and tartar can develop on it and it can retain bacteria or food debris which will cause problems for the healthy teeth or the gums. 

If you wear a fixed restoration, you must follow the usual recommendations for oral health:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Use a daily mouthwash to clean the places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush to reduce the development of bad bacteria throughout the mouth
  • Don't forget to visit the dentist. A regular check-up and professional clean are essential for preventing oral problems

If you wear a denture, follow the classic oral health recommendations for looking after your teeth and your mouth:

  • Brush your denture outside your mouth with a special denture toothbrush. Make sure that you clean both sides, external and internal, so as not to leave any food debris behind and use a soft toothbrush to gently clean your gums
  • Finish cleaning your dentures by using a solution suitable for dentures. Ensure that you follow the instructions for use
  • Even if you no longer have any teeth, you still need to visit your dentist regularly. They will check the health of your mouth's soft tissue and service your dentures. Cleaning the denture with vibrations or ultrasound helps to check that there are no cracks

Ref: J&J internal data

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