Geriatric dentistry is the treatment of dental problems peculiar to advanced age. It is also known as gerodontics. It involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems associated with normal aging and age related diseases. The elderly patient may suffer from some of the many dental problems common to their age group. These include root caries, periodontal disease, missing teeth because of earlier neglect, ill-fitting dentures, oral ulceration, dry mouth, oral cancers and caries.
The dental diseases that the elderly are particularly prone to root caries, attrition, periodontal disease, missing teeth because of earlier neglect, edentulism, poor quality of alveolar ridges, ill-fitting dentures, mucousal lesions, oral ulceration, dry mouth (xerostomia), oral cancers, and rampant caries. Many of these are the consequence of neglect in the early years of life, for example, consumption of a cariogenic diet, lack of awareness regarding preventive aspects, and habits like smoking and/or tobacco, pan, and betel nut chewing. All these problems may increase in magnitude because of the declining immunity in old age and because of coexisting medical problems. As a result of poor systemic health the elderly patient pays little or no attention to oral health.
Geriatric dentistry requires time and patience on the part of the dentist. The elderly person may have particular health complications such s dementia and depression, arthritis and all ailments associated with the elderly. When choosing an appropriate dentist for a person that’s over 65 years, find one who understands particular problems faced by the elderly. Many of the older population wear dentures, so it would be advisable to find a dentist who makes and cares for these appliances.
Adult onset diabetes is disease which many older people suffer from .This puts such people at risk of oral infections after surgery. Onset diabetes is a very serious life threatening condition that puts the elderly at risk of oral infections and impaired healing after the oral treatment.
Also, medications like antihypertensive, antipsychotics, anxiolytics which leads to xerostomia, and the absence of the protective influences of saliva in the oral cavity which increases the predisposition to oral disease. The unique dental needs and challenge of senior adults, includes vital connection between a healthy body and a healthy life. By adopting healthy oral habits t home, making wise choices about diet and lifestyle, and seeking regular dental care.