Senior Dental Care: Don’t Wait For Pain

Smiling Elderly Couple Atlanta GAIf it doesn’t hurt, why fix it? That doesn’t always stand true when talking about dental health. In fact, common dental problems such as gum disease and decay don’t typically present themselves with painful symptoms at first. Waiting for dental discomfort to see a dentist often means that you’ve allowed a dental concern to fester and progress into advanced and harder-to-treat stages. When referring to senior patients, this becomes an even more important rule of thumb.

New research shows that elderly adults are less sensitive to pain in general than younger adults. In addition, the mouth changes as we age and the nerves in our teeth actually become smaller, which means that cavities or other problems can exist without the nerves signally a appropriate level of pain to the brain. Finally, a senior adult is more likely to have a chronic pain condition that may require them to take pain relievers or participate in other pain management therapies on a daily basis. This may mask other types of pain that may exist in the mouth.

A recent health article from US News further supports the recommendation to not let pain be a guide to dental treatment intervention in the aging population. Geriatric dentist Dr. Elisa Ghezzi, a past chair of the Coalition for Oral Health for the Aging, says that “waiting for patients to start complaining of pain before doing root-surface procedures isn’t a good approach for older adults in their 70s and beyond. Pain perception changes with age, and a problem that would send a 40-year-old screaming to their dentist might not register with someone who’s 75. Similarly, older patients might put off needed care, not realizing that pain is a sign of an underlying problem. But waiting until it really hurts could lead to tooth loss and costly reconstructive work.”

The best way to ensure you are not ignoring dental pain and letting a dental problem worsen is to maintain a routine checkup with your dentist every six months. While it may be harder to get to the dentist as an aging adult, it is no less important. In fact, it becomes even more important to let a dentist examine your teeth and gums and evaluate for signs of disease, decay or other damage.

Dr. Wayne Suway is known for his expertise in delivering first-class dental care to senior adults. He understands the unique changes that seniors face, in the mouth and in life, and he tailors a treatment plan accordingly.

Posted on behalf of Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
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Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD – Atlanta Dentist
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Atlanta, GA 30339
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Missy Stone

I have known Dr. Suway for 30 years. My parents found him originally and made me a believer and life long friend and patient. In the years since, I have recommended my husband, son and friends. I would hear that going to the dentist was a fear of many people. I could never understand that because it was always a pleasure to come to Dr. Suway’s office. His staff are so professional, gentle and kind. It’s nice to see the same faces twice a year. You can tell they love working with him. I tell people that Dr. Suway gives the best shots – you can’t even feel a pinch. My son who hates needles, has no problem getting a shot for a filling. I love Dr. Suway’s personality. When you walk in the office you might hear him singing a country western song. I have porcelain veneers on my front teeth and am so thrilled. It’s been 10 years and they are still white and beautiful. He is an artist and perfectionist who loves to make people happy. I recommend Dr. Suway to become your dentist. He is a man of character and professionalism, yet down to earth. If you choose Dr. Suway, you’ll get an excellent dentist, but also a friend for life.

Dennis & Maria Liber

Dr. Suway is very relaxed and as a result we find that we are very relaxed as well. He takes the time to listen when we have concerns and he answers questions fully. We never feel like he is rushing from us to another patient. When we do need fillings, crowns or any other extensive work, he is concerned that we are comfortable and feeling no pain.

Nealean K. Austin

Through the years, we have found Dr. Suway to be a skillful perfectionist in all areas of his profession. He keeps abreast of and utilizes the latest dental techniques to improve and ensure the longevity of his patient’s teeth. He is a caring, personable professional who always greets his patients with a sincere, ready smile. Dr. Suway is also a ‘confidence booster.’ I say this because by the time I was 30 years old I was wearing dentures. He immediately recognized a self-conscious young wife, mother and professional who needed his professional help. His approach to boosting my confidence was through dental implants. At that time dental implants were a relatively new procedure. Dr. Suway carefully explained to me the advantages of dental implants and was proactive in working with my insurance provider to ensure that they understood the correlation between the required dental procedures and health plan benefits. I can smile with confidence forever because of Dr. Suway. Dr. Suway’s staff is a mirror image of his positive professionalism. They are always courteous, knowledgeable, efficient and personable. Appointments are scheduled at your convenience. You know that your time is valued because at the precise time of your appointment you are greeted, then immediately seen by either Dr. Suway or a hygienist. His work is outstanding and he is one of a kind.

Allison Lewis

My husband and I have been patients of Dr. Suway since 1988. Dr. Suway and his staff have provided us with state-of-the-art oral health care in a pleasant, friendly and compassionate environment for many years. Dr. Suway has done many procedures for me including root canals, crowns and a bridge. His work is beautiful. He is truly a perfectionist and that is exactly what I want in a dentist. I would never trust my smile to anyone other then Dr. Suway.