Improving quality of life

21 September 2022

Elderly people value their oral health. They want to retain their teeth, their own smile and avoid an extraction, if they can, for as long as they can. They also want conservative, minimally-invasive dentistry, due to the compound effect of years of wear and tear and, often, restorative work.

If an infection is diagnosed, and a root canal recommended, a systematic review found that a patient’s age had “no influence on the success rate” of treatment, also that age alone is not a prognostic factor. Nevertheless, age-related changes to the dentition and soft tissue do present challenges for the endodontist. Moreover, the clinical team must feel sure that an elderly patient is fully aware of the role they have to play to keep the result stable. If any patient is unable to commit to regular reviews and the practise of good daily hygiene, because of limited dexterity, or cost, or issues with travelling to the practice, or a combination of these reasons or more, the dentist must set out alternatives to a root canal.

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