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Is it True That Elderly Patients Feel Less Dental Pain?

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Do Older Adults Feel Less Dental Pain?

When you hear that some parts of our population don’t feel as much tooth pain, you may instinctually believe that it’s a good thing! After all, why would we want anyone to feel more pain? While reduced tooth sensitivity can be a blessing for some people with chronic oral health conditions, it can also stand in the way of their dentists discovering and treating the problem.

At Lumi Family Dentistry, we are well-versed in every age and every stage of development, so we can look out for health conditions and symptoms that may not be as apparent due to lowered sensitivity. Our family dentists in Sachse, TX will use their knowledge and years of experience to develop an individualized treatment plan, so you or an older adult in your life can finally enjoy a better quality of life.

Why Do Elderly People Have Reduced Tooth Sensitivity?

Many factors contribute to nerve shrinkage for elderly patients, but there are a few mechanisms that may lead to reduced tooth pain:

  • Reduced blood flow to the pulp 
  • Mineralization of the nerve fibers
  • Repeated trauma and neglect desensitizing the nerves

Unfortunately, people over the age of 65 suffer tooth decay even more frequently than school-aged children. Harvard Health estimates that 65-and-older patients are three times more likely to have tooth damage severe enough to require a root canal. These cavities are often near the gum line, as gums recede at a greater pace with age, exposing the cementum and the roots to bacteria.

How do you know you have a cavity? Some lucky few find out with X-rays at our dentist. For most people, it starts with a dull throb. Pain is an important signal to the brain that it’s time to get help. So, what happens when that signal comes late or not at all? Unfortunately, tooth decay can progress rapidly and do catastrophic damage to the tooth before it’s noticed.
When tooth decay isn’t treated promptly, the inside of the tooth rots. This rot can spread through the pulp and into the roots, eventually leading to dental abscesses and infection. At this stage, the decay can be life-threatening. Dental abscesses require emergency dental care, and the chances of that tooth being lost for good are much higher.

How to Combat Reduced Tooth Sensitivity to Detect Health Problems

The best way to prevent cavities from turning into health emergencies is to visit our dentist frequently. While every six months is appropriate for most adults, you may need to visit more frequently. We may suggest appointments every three months, so we can easily detect problems before they have a chance to destroy your tooth.

Visit Lumi Family Dentistry for Emergency Dental Care in Sachse, TX

Whether you need to schedule a routine checkup, or you need treatment today, we’re ready to help. We offer same-day treatment for urgent dental problems, but we can also get you on the schedule, so we can develop a long-term game plan for your dental and oral health. Call today at (469)777-4955 or book online to schedule your appointment.



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