You may be used to your routine of visiting the dentist for dental cleanings and exams, but as time goes on, some of the services they provide will be different. After all, your mouth never stops changing, so neither should your dentist's approaches in response. Here are some of the common differences you may notice throughout your life.
How Your Smile Changes With Age
A young child visiting the dentist will be encouraged and equipped to have a healthy adult smile. As such, their provider will mostly focus on teaching good oral hygiene habits and keeping their baby teeth healthy to hold a space for the permanent ones. This is also a time to be attentive to the way the jaws and related structures are forming. If it’s necessary to help guide proper growth or eliminate poor habits (like breathing through the mouth, sucking their thumb or resting the tongue in the wrong place) this is the ideal time to address issues.
For a teenager whose adult teeth have come in, teeth straightening may be high on the priority list as a crooked or gapped smile can cause problems with talking and eating and increase one’s risk of certain oral conditions like gingivitis or gum disease. Young adults may need their wisdom teeth examined and sometimes removed, if there is not enough space for them.
Adults should focus on preventive care to help them maintain a healthy smile. As we age, we may be prescribed different medications. Many medications can cause the mouth to become dry. A dry mouth is at very high risk for fast growing cavities which may then then need to be replaced with bridges, dental implants, and dentures.
How Your Dentist Responds to Life Changes
Other events may affect you as you get older. For example, pregnancy makes the body and the baby more vulnerable to infection, making periodontal disease more likely.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, the dentist will likely talk to you about diet changes and medication routines to mitigate your increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
If you should develop cancer and/or need treatment with chemotherapy or radiation, this can drastically change the condition of the mouth. We will want to proactively work with you to protect your teeth and gum tissues.
Additionally, those who suffer an injury to their teeth or jaw will need to rely on a dentist’s expertise for fixing their bite and restoring their smile.
As your dentist, we are prepared and honored to help you maintain your very best oral health through all the twists and turns of life.