As the baby boomer generation gets older, many of us are helping to care for aging parents. Most people think of helping their parents with housing, choices about assisted living, and even health care. One important area that is often overlooked, however, is dental care. Many people don’t realize how important dental care is for the aging population, and how much it affects their lives. With proper dental care, baby boomers can avoid having major dental problems in their later years.
The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid offer very limited dental coverage for adults. Dental insurance in general covers the basic dental needs of adults, but according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, almost 50% of adult dental care is paid out of pocket.
The problem with not having a higher level of dental service reimbursement readily available for most U.S. citizens is that as people age, so do their dental restorations.
Additionally, research shows that people who don’t have dental insurance are less apt to go to the dentist, and this can propagate the problem of aging dental restorations.
An important time to re-assess the status of present dental work and overall dental health is age 50-75 — prior to heading to an older age. The concept of assessing dental work in their fifties, sixties, and seventies wasn’t something most of our aging parents thought of, probably because the obvious solution then was dentures if teeth had to be replaced.
The image of a denture in a glass is associated with old age, but there is a better solution than dentures for baby boomers and the parents and family of baby boomers with missing and or failing teeth.
The better solution is dental implants. Dental implants can replace one tooth or an entire mouth of teeth. The literature shows that the success rate of dental implants is around 98% over a 10-year period, making them one of the most successful prosthetic replacement options in health care.
Internationally renowned leader in implant dentistry and the Teeth Tomorrow Network founder Dr. Michael Tischler authored an article for the New York Daily News on the state of failing dentistry performed on baby boomers during the last century and how sons and daughters can Help Your Aging Parents Avoid Future Dental Problems.
The Baby Boomer population is living longer and healthier than their parents.
As the Baby Boomer population ages so does their desire to live a higher quality of life. This higher quality of life involves many social interactions including eating at restaurants and social gatherings.
The ability to smile and chew food is an important aspect of social interaction as well as self-esteem, for both baby boomers and their parents. Dental implants can help improve the lives of both baby boomers and their parents that need one or more tooth replaced.
A landmark study showed that dental implants with permanent Prettau® zirconia bridges had an over 99% success rate of a five-year period.
Some baby boomers and their parents now might have an important decision to make with regards to their mouth, especially with this zirconia implant bridge and other options now available for baby boomers and their parents who want to avoid dentures, and have a beautiful, natural-looking smile.
For a list of questions you should ask any dentist proposing major dental work, download our checklist.