40s & loving it
Replacing old fillings
There are a number of different materials used to restore teeth. Old silver-amalgam fillings last anything from 5 years up to 20 years, while the modern tooth-coloured filling materials last rather less time, in the range of 5-10 years. These tooth-coloured fillings also stain, not only on their surface but especially around the edges, making them less attractive as time passes.
Some teeth need very large fillings which are often repaired using full coverage crowns. These can be made of gold, porcelain, zirconia or a combination of these. They may last very many years (up to 30 years in many cases) and will often strengthen weakened teeth.
Any filling material can show signs of wear. Everyday chewing, tooth clenching, grinding and sports injuries can all take their toll on the fillings in your mouth. In your 40s, it is likely that some of the dental work performed in your teenage years and your 20’s may have become severely deteriorated and need replacement.
Visiting your general dentist will ensure that any filling deterioration is detected and the appropriate replacement filling options are discussed. Keeping up with your regular check-ups will ensure any minor fractures in fillings and any fillings that begin to leak can be replaced before the problem becomes more advanced. Teeth left with leaking fillings can go on to suffer extensive decay that may lead to dental abscess formation, with the need for root fillings or tooth extraction.
Here at NQ Surgical Dentistry, we can provide tooth restorations for dental phobic patients who need sedation to cope with treatment. We also offer routine general dentistry under general anaesthetic in a day surgery unit for patients who cannot be treated in a dental practice setting. This group of patients also includes those who are unable to co-operate with the dental team, who suffer severe dental anxiety, difficulty to remain still, who have behavioural problems or patients who are developmentally challenged.
Carers of these patients are welcome to contact our experienced and empathetic team to discuss any concerns, and arrange for a consultation to find the best way to provide dental care for their patients or family members.
Gum disease (Periodontitis)
International studies reveal that approximately 13% of the population suffer from periodontitis; in Australia, this approximates to 2.8 million people. Much of this disease is in the older age groups from the 40s onwards.
Untreated, gum disease destroys the bone supporting the teeth. The result is ongoing infection, halitosis (bad breath), gum recession, loose teeth and finally premature tooth loss. Patients who attend a dentist will be diagnosed and treated. For those patients avoiding dental care who only seek treatment when the disease has become advanced, their only option may be the removal of several teeth. In the 40-50 year age group, many patients reach this more advanced state, and as they age the disease will continue to progress, unless it is treated.
Regular dental examination of the older patients in their 40s and onwards is important to limit the damage that gum disease can cause. At NQ Surgical Dentistry, we provide treatment for gum disease of all levels of severity. Dr Colin Priestland has a Master of Science degree in gum disease, and is a former UK specialist in Periodontics. He works in conjunction with Sharon Everett, a highly skilled and experienced dental hygienist, to treat gum disease in all age groups. The majority of these patients are in the older age bracket from their 40s and onwards.
Commonly known as gum disease, periodontitis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. There is also a clear relationship between the presence of gum disease and increased severity of diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. If you begin to suffer from sore or inflamed gums or bleeding when you brush or floss, it is most strongly recommended that you visit your dentist and discuss assessment and treatment options. In serious cases, you may be referred to a periodontist for in-depth diagnoses of the condition and if necessary, more advanced treatment.
Teeth grinding and clenching
We all suffer stress these days, no matter how old we are. However, as we get older, we seem to collect more and more responsibilities, both at home and at work. With this added responsibility comes increasing stress. Studies have found that the most tense participants were the most likely to grind or clench their teeth. Clenching and grinding are very different conditions. To put it simply, grinding damages teeth, while clenching damages the jaw joint and associated muscles and ligaments.
Tooth grinding, often performed in your sleep, is destructive of tooth substance, and it contributes to wearing down the tooth enamel and then the underlying dentine, weakening the teeth. Because of this, the teeth become more susceptible to fracture.
For patients that perform habitual clenching, this has damaging effects on your jaw joints (known as TMJ’s). Symptoms include headaches, unusual pain in the facial muscles and neck, limited opening of the mouth, locking of the mouth and unusual noises (clicking).
For those stressed, middle-aged individuals, these are issues that arise frequently. Unexplained headaches often called tension headaches seem to affect many people in the workplace. The more stressed they are, the more severe the headaches appear to be. If you suspect that you have developed these destructive habits, visit your dentist immediately for an assessment. To combat this behaviour, your dentist will advise you on various treatment options such as hard acrylic splints to wear at night, physiotherapy, low-level laser therapy or medications. It is recommended to reduce caffeine and alcohol before bed and look into ways to reduce stress in your life.
Here at NQ Surgical Dentistry, Dr Priestland treats many patients with temporomandibular joint problems with a variety of successful methods.
Dental stains and discolouration
Teeth with good quality enamel can stain to a minor degree, but teeth with poor quality enamel stain far worse. This is due to enamel porosity. Rough surfaces always stain more than smooth surfaces. This explains why rough tooth-coloured fillings take on stains far more than highly polished fillings.
Years of indulging in red wine, coffee and other dark beverages will have an effect on your teeth. As well as this, the outer layer of enamel can wear away and reveal the dentine below that has a yellow colouration. This can be unsightly. NQ Surgical Dentistry offers a variety of treatment options to mask this appearance. Ideally, reducing the amount of stain-causing drinks is helpful, but regular cleaning with a dental hygienist is also advisable.
Visit your regular dentist to discuss the best treatment to ensure your teeth remain attractive, and avoid the appearance of ageing dark-stained fillings.
NQ Surgical Dentistry and your oral health
When you visit Dr Priestland and his team, you will receive all the information you need to care for your oral health in your 40’s and onwards. Detection and prevention of oral health concerns will be discussed and treated with the highest level of expertise and care.