Choosing a Dentist for Those Over 65

Feb 20


Anna Woodward

Anna Woodward

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

When you are choosing a dentist for an older adult, you need to make some special considerations. Make sure the dental practitioner has the right specialties to care for someone over the age of 65.

The dental needs of any individual are going to change depending on his or her age. Children,Choosing a Dentist for Those Over 65 Articles for instance, need different care than middle-aged adults. Many do not realize that choosing a dentist for a senior citizen requires the same level of understanding and amount of research as choosing one for a child, primarily because of the increased number of concerns older adults face for their oral health.

In the new millennium, over 35 million people in America are past the age of 65. This means that the need for dental professionals for older adults is continuing to grow. For this reason, The American Society for Geriatric Dentistry was created to help older adults find and utilize dental professionals with specialties in the fields they usually need.

If you are looking for a dentist for an older adult, whether it is for yourself or a parent or other loved one you care for, look for a geriatric dental office. However, not all dental practitioners who specialize in this area will advertise it, so you need to know more specifically what to look for.

First, take the time to understand the dental problems that older adults commonly struggle with. Many older adults struggle with a dry mouth. Often this occurs because of the medications they use, but it can also occur because of dental problems. However, this is not usually something serious, and most dental practitioners can handle these concerns.

Gum disease and tooth loss are another common problem in the older population, particularly because of poor dental care generations ago when less education was available. Choose a dentist who has a periodontal disease specialty or who employs a specialist at his office. Similarly, many older adults have dentures, either full or partial, so you will want to find a dental office that specializes in making and caring for these appliances while maintaining the health of the patient's gums and jaw. 

Sometimes older adults struggle with adult-onset diabetes. This is a very serious, life threatening condition that also puts them at risk of oral infections or impaired healing after oral treatments. A benefit of finding a dental office that is skilled in treating older adults is the fact that they will likely have experience working with diabetic patients and the unique challenges they face.

As you look through dentists, start by talking to others in a similar age range that have a dental office they love. This will help you narrow down your search. Do not rule out dental practitioners who do not specifically advertise their geriatric services. Sometimes a family dentist can be the best choice for an older adult, provided they have the right specialists on hand at their office to treat gum disease and deal with the needs of patients wearing dentures. Don't forget to use online reviews to help you get a feel for the skills and bedside manner of a particular dentist. 

Finally, choose a dentist you or your parent feels comfortable with. This is vital, because you may be spending a lot of time at the office. If you are comfortable with your provider, you will get the best possible care for your oral health.