Forecasting is typically something that we leave to meteorologists. Of course, then we complain when their predictions put a damper on our outdoor activities. While the actual word forecasting is most often associated with the weather, there are several areas of the business world where this is the norm. Even in dentistry, there is value in knowing how to forecast or predict, the potential future needs of individual patients.
In dentistry, forecasting has to do with understanding how the needs of the mouth may change as we go through life. Aging, in particular, brings numerous changes to the body. When we grow older, we may have certain health conditions that need management, and those health conditions may affect certain oral functions. We may take medications to support general health, only to find that those medications have side effects that make it harder to manage a healthy mouth. These are all common occurrences, and they are issues that we know how to handle.
Some of the common issues older patients may face include:
- Periodontal inflammation and infection. Gum disease is usually not a concern among pediatric patients or even young adults. There is something about growing older that increases the risk of this condition. Knowing this, we closely monitor patients for gum health, right down to measuring the space between each tooth and the gum tissue that surrounds it.
- Dry mouth. Xerostomia is one of those dental conditions that may develop secondary to a health problem or the use of certain medications. Even certain antidepressants and antihistamines can inhibit the production of saliva. When there is too little of this fluid in the mouth, the risk for decay and gum disease rises substantially.
- We don’t think much about discoloration and staining, largely because treatments are so readily available. For an older person, staining may be perceived as a normal part of aging. The change in color could indicate enamel erosion, which is a structural condition that could lead to other problems, such as fractures.
The dental problems that are prevalent among older adults are not a problem for our Houston dental team to monitor and manage. To learn more about the preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services available at Peters Dental Associates, call (281) 486-8061.