Senior Dental Concerns

Burning mouth usually occurs in individuals over 50, but can affect others as well. There are several reasons why it occurs.
Denture Problems: a new denture, or one that doesn’t fit well, can irritate your entire mouth.

Reduced salivary gland function: we know that this will cause the mouth to become dry, inviting oral discomfort, difficulty eating or swallowing, loss of taste, and a burning mouth.  Salivary gland dysfunction sometimes comes with age.  But there are saliva substitutes and rinses at The Center of Dental Professionals  that we can prescribe to protect your oral tissues, and soothe burning sensations.

Medications: these often dry the mouth (side effects).

Vitamin deficiency: there is some evidence linking burning mouth syndrome to Vitamin B deficiency.

Candida infections: this is a common oral fungus, usually apparent to the eye but sometimes undetectable.  At The Center of Dental Professionals we can prescribe a topical anti-fungal agent that can help the problem.

Call us at (801) 747-8018 for more information on how we can help you with burning mouth.

Dry mouth – Xerostomia

Dry mouth problem is common in the Salt Lake  area. The lack of adequate saliva is more than bothersome for three out of every ten Americans.

When the natural flow of saliva is reduced, you can experience trouble swallowing, pain throughout oral tissues and, nearly always, a short-cut to dental caries and gum disease. The tongue sticks, food doesn’t have much taste, and digestion suffers.  (For more details call us at (801) 747-8018.)

We know that Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome, can come with aging, or often as a side effect of many medications.   Half of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience an extreme form of xerostomia, with critical effects on their dental health. At The Center of Dental Professionals we can help provide relief in the form of prescriptions for dry mouth toothpaste, special saliva-producing chewing gum, or saliva substitute solutions.

For more information regarding Xerostomia and methods of treatment, please call our office at (801) 747-8018.

Complications in the Mouth related to Cancer Treatment

Each year about 400,000 people (including many in the Salt Lake area) with cancer develop treatment-related complications in the mouth ranging from lesions to chronic dry mouth to bone disintegration.  If serious, these complications can be life threatening.  While many are unavoidable, some can be prevented or minimized.

We recommend that whenever possible, a pre-therapy dental evaluation with a full set of mouth x-rays be performed. Any decay, gum disease and abscesses should be treated, if time permits, prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Even patients who have no pain or dental disorders need a thorough cleaning.  Our goal at The Center of Dental Professionals is to have the patient’s mouth in optimal health prior to beginning anti-cancer therapy.

If you have questions regarding cancer treatment and your dental health, please call our office at (801) 747-8018.

Problems with Dentures

Many denture wearers in the Salt Lake area breathe a sigh of relief when they get their first pair of dentures because they think their dental problems are over.  What they soon realize, however, is that they have just traded some old problems for new ones.

Even the best dentures can’t compete with natural teeth in ability to chew food efficiently and comfortably.  As the years go by, the supporting ridges that remain after teeth have been removed gradually change and get smaller.

We believe that for most patients, their dentures need to be “relined” or “refitted” every 2-4 years so that the denture will conform to the changing ridge.  A large change in weight can also alter the shape of the mouth, causing changes in the fit.

If you have questions about your dentures, please call Lifestyle Family Dentistry at (801) 747-8018 for answers.

Impact of Tooth Loss on Total Health of Seniors

In the past, the loss of teeth was dismissed as a natural part of the aging process in the Salt Lake City community area, and dentures were considered a normal sign of old age.  While such ignorance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, there is still not a general awareness of the seriousness of edentulism.

Multiple tooth loss is most commonly caused by periodontal disease, i.e. gum and bone disease. Periodontal Disease has a high statistical correlation with chronic debilitating disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

So, it is not very surprising that studies now show a shortened life expectancy by as much as 10 years for persons nationally, and in the Salt Lake City area, who have lost their natural teeth, when compared to those who have kept their teeth.

Dental implants replace missing teeth

“Well, you know Doc, it’s just a back tooth. No one will see it so I’ll just get rid of it.  It’s not going to make a difference.”  Unfortunately we hear this type of comment at the Center of Dental Professionals more often than you would think.

The plain truth is that it will make a difference.  At The Center of Dental Professionals we know the loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth.  “Well, if that’s true, tell me more. I sure don’t want to lose the front ones that I smile with.”

We often answer with an explanation that teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth.  Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon you’ve got a whole lot of problems.

“Well, I don’t like that. What can I do?”  If it sounds like you’ve heard this conversation a few times, you’re right.  If I’m going to keep a patient happy, I need to provide options at this point.

One of the options we often discuss at The Center of Dental Professionals would be a dental implant. This is the replacement of a tooth with a false root that is surgically placed.  We  then carefully construct a dental crown to replace the missing tooth, to prevent teeth from shifting and thereby causing further tooth loss.

If you have any questions about missing teeth and possible implant treatment, please call our office at (801) 747-8018.