Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Treating the Adult Patient

Age Affects Needs
Dental treatment needs change as you age. From our years of dental experience, we have found that dental needs of adult patients fall into two distinct categories: those who have not had a history of many restorations (fillings) and those who have had their teeth drilled and filled repeatedly over the years.

The first group is fortunate. While new decay can begin at any time, the older you get, the less likely you are to get new cavities. When those adults who have had few fillings brush and floss their teeth properly to prevent periodontal disease, they will probably develop few new dental problems. Old restorations need infrequent replacement (especially if the fillings are only small fillings). The need for crowns (caps), bridges, implants, or endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) is also minimal.

Multiple Restorations
Those who have had numerous fillings over the years will probably experience more dental treatment needs than the first group. Large, existing restorations have a tendency to break more often than small fillings. When a tooth contains a large filling, there is correspondingly less natural tooth left, which can lead to fractures. Silver fillings are held in place by the surrounding tooth. When there is insufficient tooth left, the silver fillings will not last a long time. The second group can expect to have heavily filled teeth break over and over until a cast restoration (crown or inlay) is needed to restore the tooth.

Cast Restorations
Cast, laboratory-processed restorations will last longer than direct placed materials (silver fillings). In fact, it would be wise to consider placing the cast restorations (when indicated) sooner rather than later. This can eliminate further drilling and aggravation to the patient.

Endodontic Therapy
The adult patient who has had a history of moderate to severe decay and large restorations may also require more endodontic treatment (root canals) than an adult who has few fillings. Larger restorations are likely to have been placed very near to the nerve of the tooth. Over time, a tooth nerve can die when a restoration is placed very near the nerve oroccasionally becomes apparent when the tooth is prepared for a crown or cast restoration. The only alternative to endodontic treatment is to extract the tooth¾not a solution we recommend.

Tooth Fracture
Any tooth that has been drilled and filled could also be subject to fracture. The older and larger the filling, the more likely it is to fracture. If the gum has receded due to improper brushing habits or periodontal disease, sensitive roots or root surface decay may become evident. Root surface decay can damage a tooth much faster than enamel decay.

Prevention Remains a Key Element for Sound Oral Health
Prevent the problem from starting: brush and floss. Once you notice symptoms, get the problem diagnosed and treat the area of concern when it is small. See us at the recommended intervals. Fix the problem so that it stays fixed for the longest time and does not cause more problems. Less drilling is better than more. The longest-lasting restoration may be the restoration of choice.

If you have any questions about dental treatment for the adult patient, please feel free to ask us at (512)250-5012. – Omni Dental Group.


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  2. Thanks for sharing various services such as Endodontic Therapy, Cast Restorations, Multiple Restorations and more. I agree with you that age affects the need of adults. The need for crowns (caps), bridges, implants, or endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) is also minimal.

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