How Often Should Seniors Have Dental Exams?

Apr 23, 2020 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS
Tags: Dental Exams

Senior woman looks away from dentist and smilesDental exams allow our dentists to detect early signs of dental problems before they cause serious damage to your oral health. All healthy adults can benefit from annual exams and twice-a-year cleanings.

Seniors have unique oral health needs that may require more frequent exams or longer exams to detect and treat age-related dental problems. If you are 65 or older, the dentists at Signature Smiles in Woodinville, WA, will let you know how often you should seek exams to maintain optimal oral health. Read on to learn more about dental exams for seniors.

Why Are Dental Exams for Seniors Important?

Many dental problems result from the cumulative effects of aging. Seniors are also more likely to take medications that can cause dry mouth. Drs. Cristin Dowd and Ken Wu are trained to look for dental problems that are prevalent among older adults. Advanced age is a risk factor for dental problems that include:

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is often a side effect of certain medications that are commonly used by senior citizens. The condition inhibits the production of saliva and leads to a dry mouth. Xerostomia can be quite uncomfortable, and the lack of sufficient saliva can increase the risk for tooth decay and other dental problems.

During your visit to our Woodinville office for a dental exam, let one of our dentists know if you experience dry mouth. Changes in habits or switching medications can alleviate the symptoms associated with dry mouth.

Dental Caries

The cumulative effects of aging, even with good oral hygiene habits, can leave teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Cavities are very common among seniors. In fact, 93 percent of seniors have one or more treated or untreated cavities, according to the National Institutes of Health. The early stages of tooth decay can be easily treated at our dental practice.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. The advanced stages of gum disease (periodontitis) can result in gum tissue recession and tooth loss. Regular dental exams and cleanings, along with good oral hygiene habits, can treat gum disease and reverse its symptoms.

Other Age-related Dental Problems

Many of our senior patients have restorations and prosthetics. These devices can come loose over time. An ill-fitting prosthetic can cause jaw pain and other problems. During your dental exam, one of our dentists will check any crowns, bridges, or dentures to ensure that they are attached strongly and still in good shape.

Your visits may also include screenings for oral cancer. Like other forms of cancer, oral cancer is more commonly found in adults over the age of 65.

Schedule Your Senior Dental Exam Today

Dental exams save our valued senior citizens time and money by catching early signs of dental problems. While younger adults may only require one exam per year, some seniors may benefit from more frequent visits to our office. To learn which exam schedule is right for your oral health needs, please contact our office online or call (425) 489-1177.

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