5 tips to make the Most of Your Senior Dental Visit
Basic oral hygiene doesn't change much as you age, whether you have all your teeth or wear dentures. It's easy to understand that regular dental visits may seem like a luxury than a necessity, especially on a fixed income. But preventive dental care is much less costly in the long run than waiting until a problem requires extensive and expensive repair work. Here are five ways to make your senior dental visit an affordable, low stress experience.
1. Don't wait until there is a problem to see a dentist.
Regular visits allow your dentist to check for problems before they become serious. Dentists can make sure your dentures are in good condition and fit well. Your dentist will also examine your mouth, gums, chheck and tongue for signs of oral cancer, which is more common after age 40.
2. Seek out affordable care.
Dental insurance covers most of preventive care and a portion of basic or major issues. If you dont have insurance, some offices offer payment plans or offer discounts for seniors or cash payment. Most offices even offer financing plans such as CareCredit.
3. Plan ahead
Pick a good time for your appointment to ensure that you are feeling your most energentic and least stressed. If you have any special needs let the staff know in advance so they can better accommodate you.
4. Keep your dentist informed.
Mention any sores, swelling or pain you might be experiencing in your mouth. Let your dentist know if you smoke, have allergies or any existing medical conditions. Also tell your dentist about all the medications you take. Some can cause dry mouth; others may interact with any medications your dentist may prescribe.
5. Know what to expect.
Your senior dental visit will likely consist of the following:
X-rays- are not required at every visit but are used to to spot undetectable problems to the eye such as bone deterioration below gum line.
Dental Cleaning- the dental hygentist will scrape off any plaque of tartar from above and below gum line then polish and floss teeth.
Dental Exam - the dentist will check your mouth, teeth, and gums for signs of cavities, loose fillings and gum disease. He or she will look at your neck, lymph glands, cheeks, tongue and lips to check for signs of infection or oral cancer.
Treatment Plan - Depending what the dentist observes during the exam, he or she will recommend a dental treatment plan. Your dentist can also review proper self care tips.
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