Many seniors are prone to developing decay along the gum lines of their teeth. There are apparently multiple causes causes for their increased risk for new decay. First of all, their teeth at the gums are often denuded of any outer covering over their dentin(enamel or cementum) and dentin when not cleaned by brushing or flossing on a regular basis can more easily decay as compared to enamel(the normal tooth covering.
Seniors may also experience a somewhat dry mouth, due to a change in their saliva flow, mouth breathing at night or due to a medication that they are taking. Saliva has a protective function and appears to fight tooth decay.
I have observed that some seniors who have been my patients for many years seem to lose some of their interest or skill in keeping their teeth clean. I am not sure whether this is due to depression or just a deterioration in their hand -eye coordination.
Consequently, I recommend three month recall for all my elderly patients and I do a careful inspection of their teeth , especially in between the teeth where often they are not keeping them as clean.
When restoring their gum line decay I try an use fluoride cement type fillings which are medicated and can help prevent a decay from reoccurring along the margins of the filling.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
I am asked this a lot by patients. I usually wonder if they mean to ask "Why in the world would you choose to be a dentist?" I don't take offense but respond that I wanted to be involved in a medical profession and my uncle was a wonderful dentist and was a role model for me. Dentistry has an artistic component to it as well; Dentist use their hands to sculpt teeth . Sometimes they use their skills to create more appealing smiles(Cosmetic Dentistry). I wanted to be involved in a helping profession which would allow me a reasonable standard of living. Dentists provide a valuable service to their communities and if they do their job competently are respected by their patients. I have been a dentist in New York City for over 25 years and I have enjoyed helping my patients and get great satisfaction from the work itself . I continue to find Dentistry both challenging and interesting.