Updated June 26, 2001 Madison, WI--Today, more senior citizens are keeping their teeth longer, due largely to improved dental care. However, over time other dental issues arise that can affect health and appearance�namely abrasion of the teeth at the root surface and gingival recession.
"When a person has areas of abrasion, it's harder to maintain and keep teeth clean, and this compromises the health of the gum area," according to Dr. Art Chal, President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry�. However, with the help of cosmetic dentistry, seniors can enjoy a youthful, healthy, attractive smile.
As people age, surface tooth enamel wears and the gums recede, exposing the root surface. The root surface is covered by a material called cementum, which when exposed, is very sensitive. This condition can be the result of either abrasion or erosion.
Loss of tooth structure due to mechanical wear is called abrasion. This is most commonly seen as a "notched area" on the tooth right at the gum line.
Cosmetic dentistry uses adhesive bonding techniques to restore teeth to a more natural appearance and protect teeth where harmful wear and exposure have taken place. According to Dr. Chal, "Adhesive dental materials allow dentists to bond on all three components of the tooth. We have always been able to bond to the enamel, the outer tooth surface; now, we can bond to the other two components, dentin and cementum, giving a greater capacity to save the tooth structure. We can also add on to the tooth structure to change the color and provide modifications in shape, form, and alignment."
"Bonding, whereby we place composite or porcelain-type material over the exposed root surface, is an alternative for senior citizens," adds Dr. Chal. Adhesive bonding coverings can also desensitize teeth and help make them easier to maintain.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry� is an international organization providing a forum for excellence in education and credentialing in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. For more information about cosmetic dentistry, please contact the AACD at (800) 543-9220 or send email to [email protected].