Orthodontic Issues in Senior Patients

As the jaw bones tend to shrink with age, there will be less and less space to accommodate the patient’s teeth and they become crowded. Normally, the shrinking of the jaw bones has been associated with the loss of some of the natural teeth which seems to accelerate the process; however, over the years, the bone diminishes in size (length and width) even in patients with good teeth formulas. Apparently, there is no connection between the presence of the wisdom molars and the occurrence of crowded front teeth; therefore, a question arises: why do some people’s teeth become crowded with age?

The strange ways of nature

Scientists are uncertain regarding the reasons why human jaws change over the years. However, the elderly who come to experience severe front teeth crowding should know that this is the result of a perfectly natural process; the magnitude of these changes could be related to genetic heritage and individual anatomy. There are modern dental procedures that can help adjusting the bite in such cases.

Why do senior patients need to seek orthodontic treatments?

It is true that the available treatment does not address all senior patients; in some cases you do not need to follow a specific course of action. However, you need to keep in mind that crowded teeth would increase the risk of accidentally breaking a tooth and experiencing muscle strain, while making dental hygiene a more complicated matter and increasing the risk of both tooth decay and gum problems associated with poor hygiene. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist.

When do senior patients need to seek orthodontic treatment?

Not all patients experience crowded teeth symptoms with age, and not all patients who do, need treatment. Sometimes, the shrinking of the jaw is but superficial and hard to notice. However, should your bite become dramatically changed with age, here’s a guideline of the signs and symptoms that indicate you should look for professional help:

  • your bite has changed as to affect proper biting/chewing/speaking;
  • you notice an abnormal appearance of your face/smile as your bite changes.

What is the usual orthodontic approach in geriatric patients? What to expect

Your orthodontist will take X-rays, measurements, and photographs of your mouth and face, as well as teeth impression; these are tools normally used by orthodontists in order to assess diagnose and develop a treatment strategy.

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