Geriatric Patients and Pulp Vitality

When we’re young, our teeth and gums seem to know how to stay healthy on their own. As long as we brush and floss regularly, everything goes well (for the most part, at least). As we age, however, that’s not always the case. You might brush and floss your teeth on a regular schedule, just like you’re supposed to, but still experience a loss of pulp vitality. So, what does that mean?

What Does a Loss of Pulp Vitality Mean?

Your gums are filled with many blood vessels, which are charged with keeping them healthy. To be vital, they must maintain an adaquate blood supply. Over time, humans begin to develop secondary dentin (the substance that’s found inside teeth). While dentin is essential for healthy teeth, too much of it can restrict the space the capillaries need to ensure positive blood flow. When this happens, the pulp begins to lose blood supply and the pulp becomes less fibrous (or, less “alive”, if you will).

What Happens When Pulp Vitality is Lost?

Of course, every patient and every situation is different, so it’s important to seek the guidance of your dentist if you’re experiencing oral pain or worried about dental issues. With that said, there are a few things that could possibly happen to patients who lose pulpal vitality, including:

  • Infections. The blood contains many bacteria-fighting elements that help stave off infections. When the blood supply is diminished, bacteria can find its way into the pulp. This can result in abscesses, root canals, and extractions.
  • Difficulty chewing. This is often likely due to an underlying infection or other cause and can greatly reduce a patient’s quality of life. Your dentist will examine your mouth with xrays to determine the best plan of action for your unique situation.

How Does Minimized Pulp Vitality Affect Seniors?

If seniors who have extremely small pulpal spaces need crowns or bridges, it’s possible that their dentist might need to perform a root canal to ensure the success of the cosmetic dental procedure. This is to ensure a hole won’t later need to be drilled into the crown and that the patient will have the benefit of a beautiful, maintenance-free smile.

If you’re looking for a Montreal dentist who works with patients of all ages, we welcome you to call our team at Retter Dental Care. We look forward to hearing from you!