Dentist for Seniors


Here at Davis & Miller General Dentistry, we appreciate that senior patients face unique challenges when it comes to their dental health. We have a special interest in treating elderly patients to keep your smile looking healthy and beautiful at any age!

From restorative procedures that repair and preserve your natural teeth to cosmetic treatments designed to rejuvenate your smile, we offer a range of services to ensure your dental health remains top-notch. We also emphasize the importance of regular check-ups and preventive care, as these are crucial in identifying and managing age-related dental issues such as dry mouth, wear and tear of teeth, and gum disease.

davis and miller dentistry
At Davis & Miller General Dentistry, we don’t just treat teeth; we care for people. Our goal is to make your dental experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible, ensuring that you leave our dental office with a smile that is as vibrant and enduring as you are.

Dental Challenges Unique To Seniors

Senior patients tend to encounter specific dental challenges that require attentive care and management. These challenges are a combination of natural aging processes, the cumulative effect of years of dental wear and tear, and medical conditions common in older adults. Here are some of the dental issues we see most often in geriatric patients:

  • Gum Disease: As people age, the risk of gum disease (periodontal disease) increases, often due to factors like a lifetime of plaque buildup, certain medical conditions like diabetes, and decreased immunity. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to other health issues, including heart disease.
  • Tooth Decay: Seniors may experience an increase in cavities and root decay. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as receding gums, which expose more of the tooth and root surfaces to decay-causing bacteria, and a reduced flow of saliva, which is common in older adults, especially those on multiple medications.

  • Dry Mouth: Many seniors experience xerostomia, or dry mouth, often as a side effect of medications. Saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids produced by bacteria and for aiding in the digestion of food, so a lack of it can significantly increase the risk of dental decay and gum disease.

  • Wear and Tear: Over the years, teeth can become worn down from use, and old dental work might fail. This wear and tear can result in cracked teeth, joint pain, and other issues that can impact a senior’s ability to chew and speak.

  • Oral Cancer: The risk for oral cancer increases with age. Regular dental visits are important for early detection, as oral cancer is often treatable when caught early.

  • Underlying Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions common in older adults, such as arthritis in the hands, can make oral hygiene more challenging. Additionally, conditions like osteoporosis can affect jawbone health and, consequently, the stability of teeth.

Our Approach to Geriatric Dental Care

As a trusted dentist in Columbia, MO, our approach to treating senior patients is anchored in understanding, respect, and comprehensive care. We recognize that senior dental care is not just about treating teeth but about supporting the overall health and well-being of our elderly patients. Here's how we approach dental care for seniors:

  • Personalized Care Plans: We understand that each senior patient has unique dental and health concerns. Dr. Davis and Dr. Miller take the time to understand each patient's medical history, current health issues, and lifestyle factors. Based on this, we create personalized care plans that address both immediate dental concerns and long-term oral health goals.
  • Gentle and Empathetic Treatment: We provide a comfortable and stress-free environment for our senior patients. Recognizing that some seniors may have anxieties or fears about dental procedures, we ensure a gentle approach and take extra time to explain treatments and answer any questions. Our staff is trained to assist patients with special needs, including those with physical limitations or cognitive impairments.

  • Focus on Preventive Care: Preventive care is crucial for maintaining oral health in senior years. We emphasize regular check-ups, cleanings, and screenings for oral cancer and gum disease. Our team also provides guidance on daily oral hygiene practices that are tailored to the unique needs of senior patients, such as tips for those with arthritis who may find brushing and flossing challenging.

  • Advanced Treatment Options: We offer a full range of dental services, including restorative treatments like crowns and bridges, and cosmetic procedures to enhance the aesthetics of our patients' smiles. We utilize the latest in dental technology to ensure efficient, effective, and comfortable treatments.

  • Collaboration with Healthcare Providers: Recognizing that oral health is interconnected with overall health, we collaborate with our patients' healthcare providers. This ensures a holistic approach to health management, especially important for seniors with medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease that can affect oral health.

  • Education and Empowerment: We believe in empowering our senior patients with knowledge about their oral health. We provide education on how aging affects dental health and offer practical advice for maintaining a healthy mouth.

  • Accessibility and Convenience: Our office is designed to be accessible to seniors, with easy navigation and comfortable facilities. We also understand that transportation can be a challenge, so we strive to accommodate scheduling needs and help coordinate appointments for convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is dental care important for seniors?

A: Dental care is crucial for seniors because it helps maintain not only oral health but also overall well-being. With age, the risk of dental problems like gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer increases. Regular dental care helps manage these risks, ensures proper functionality for eating and speaking, and contributes to a higher quality of life.

Q: What are common dental problems faced by seniors?
A: Seniors often face dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth (often due to medications), tooth loss, and wear and tear of dental fillings and natural teeth. These problems can affect their ability to eat and speak comfortably and may also lead to more serious health complications. Regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and treatment of these issues.

Q: How can seniors maintain good oral hygiene?

A: Seniors should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria. It's important to maintain regular dental check-ups for professional cleanings and examinations. Patients with arthritis or other conditions that make brushing and flossing challenging should consider using electric toothbrushes and flossing aids.

Q: Are dental procedures safe for elderly patients with health conditions? A: Dental procedures are generally safe for elderly patients, but it's important to inform Dr. Davis or Dr. Miller about all health conditions and medications. We can then tailor the treatment plan to accommodate any specific health concerns and coordinate with the patient’s physician if necessary. Sedation and pain management options are also available to ensure comfort during dental procedures. 

Q: How does dry mouth affect seniors, and how can it be managed?

A: Dry mouth in seniors, often a side effect of medications, can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to a lack of saliva. To manage it, seniors should stay hydrated, avoid tobacco and alcohol, and may use saliva substitutes or stimulants as recommended by their dentist. Regular dental check-ups are important to monitor the effects of dry mouth on oral health.

  1. Q: What should seniors do if they have trouble with traditional brushing and flossing?

    A: If seniors find traditional brushing and flossing difficult due to arthritis or other conditions, they can use adaptive dental tools. Electric toothbrushes and floss holders can make oral hygiene easier and more effective. Additionally, regular dental cleanings become even more important to ensure oral health is maintained.

    Let Our Dentists for Seniors in Columbia, MO, Take Care of You!

    Are you looking for a dentist you can rely on to take excellent care of your dental health in your golden years? Look no further than our kind and friendly dentists in Columbia, MO, Dr. Davis and Dr. Miller. Give us a call at (573) 641-8634 to schedule your appointment.




Dr. Mary Davis and Dr. Ella Miller

  • Mary Davis, DDS & Ella Miller, DDS - 3111 Keene Ct., Columbia, MO 65201 Phone: 573-442-1869

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