Patients who are between 60 and 70 often ask Houston Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Konig—“Do I really need to do this treatment?”
When assessing what would be within the patient’s best interests, he explains the viable options before giving his professional opinion. Since it is ultimately the patient’s choice, he feels it is his responsibility as a medical professional and a care provider to inform them of possible procedures. These options range from doing nothing to the best possible care.
Based on the fact that the average lifespan for Americans has risen significantly and having the ability to eat, chew, and smile plays a role in this as well. Beyond aging, there are other health considerations and circumstances that determine what options exist for particular patients. Consider these two patients we have seen in the past month:
- An 84 year-old powerhouse attorney at a major law firm recently has had significant cardiac issues. This gentleman was in need of dental implants as his bridges and teeth were broken and falling out including the front teeth. His fractured smile produced problems eating and cosmetic insecurity since he no longer felt comfortable smiling. Finances were not the issue; rather it was his rigorous work schedule and history of subpar dental care options. Our options were also curtailed by his cardiologist’s professional assessment that he can have absolutely no dental work or extractions or implants. By the time he came into the office, all we could do to help this gentleman is re-cement bridges and crowns that fell out and have him on a soft diet.
- A 90 year-old lady in decent health was referred to our office last week by her son. Her front tooth broke off at the gum line and it had to be extracted. She is healthy enough for an extraction, but not other surgical dentistry. Since she has had dental implants and elected through the years to proceed with the best care available—we were able to use her dental implants adjacent to the tooth she broke to place an implant bridge without surgery!
The purpose of sharing these stories is twofold: to consider restorative care while healthy, and assess limitations different patients face to do the best possible work. Age is a factor, but not the only one, since health, finances, and dental history often dictate what treatment options is available. In fact, we have a patient who is 106 and has dental implants and no dentures.