Gerodontology is the part of Dentistry that is dedicated to the elderly, usually from 65 years. However, it is a discipline of study that does not have more than 30 years, since it has not received sufficient interest from professionals. However, this does not mean that it is not especially relevant, since the more adult population needs specific dental care for their age and circumstances. In the last ten years, the Gerodontology begins to have the attention that it needed, and there are many the Dentists and doctors who begin to be interested and to study this branch of the dentistry.
Over the years our body is already changing and so does our oral cavity. Consequently, the most significant changes are the following:
- First, the excessive wear of the teeth: Over time the incisors are losing their natural shape and the teeth are losing their cusps. In addition to how unstable this fact may result, the height of the lower third of the face is reduced, thereby accentuating facial expression wrinkles. However, its treatment is simple through the corresponding reconstructions, recovering both the natural contour of the tooth and the vertical dimension of the face. Second, the darkening of the teeth. This fact is mainly due to the formation of secondary dentin inside the tooth, which decreases its transparency and liveliness of color. Consequently, it is treated by teeth whitening and if necessary, with aesthetic veneers to recover it completely.
- Third, dental losses. The pieces that throughout the life we have been repairing to conserve them, end up failing mechanically, reason why “holes” will be produced in the dentition that we will have to replace ideally by means of dental implants.
- Finally, dry mouth. In this case, the salivary glands are responsible for producing the saliva that lubricates our mouth. Over time these glands decrease their function and produce less and less saliva. To this is added the taking of medications. For this, the easiest way to control this hypo-Sialia is by means of saliva substitutes as well as there are substitutes for tear secretion. Also, the most rebellious cases may require stimulation medication treatments.
EXPERTS IN GERODONTOLOGY
In 2015, a 92-year-old woman finished the San Diego marathon in the US. 75-year-old athletes climb large mountains. We cannot accept that toothlessness is the natural state of the elderly. Because, if there are hip prostheses, intraocular lenses and cochlear implants, dental replacement and repair is also possible with a very high success rate.