As we enter our golden years, our teeth go through significant changes that can have a profound impact on our oral health.
Spirit Dental Resources
As we enter our golden years, our teeth go through significant changes that can have a profound impact on our oral health.
As we age, our teeth undergo a multitude of changes and challenges, often resulting in dental problems that demand attention. These issues not only affect our oral health but can also have broader implications for our overall well-being. For seniors, these dental issues aren't merely inconveniences but can profoundly affect their daily lives. Whether you're a senior seeking ways to preserve your dental health or a caregiver helping a loved one on this journey, we’ll dive into the most common dental problems faced by older adults and highlight ways to ensure that aging gracefully includes maintaining a healthy smile.Aging teethHere are some of the most prevalent problems that seniors encounter:Tooth Decay: Tooth decay, or dental caries, is a pervasive issue among seniors. It occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and produces acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Seniors are particularly susceptible to this problem due to changes in saliva composition and reduced enamel strength over time.Root Decay: Our gums recede with age, exposing the roots of our teeth. This exposed root is more vulnerable to decay than the enamel-covered part of the tooth, making root decay a more common concern for older adults.Gum Disease: Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a serious threat that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Seniors are at an increased risk due to factors like decreased immune function and the cumulative effects of poor oral hygiene over the years.Tooth Loss: Tooth lost is a significant concern for seniors that can result from a combination of factors like decay, gum disease and injury. Losing teeth can impact a person’s ability to chew and speak — and can greatly affect their self-esteem.Denture-Induced Stomatitis: This condition is an inflammation of the tissues beneath dentures, often caused by poor-fitting dentures, inadequate cleaning or prolonged denture use.Another thing for seniors to consider is prescription or over-the-counter medications they may be taking. Some medications can have adverse effects on oral health. Dry mouth (xerostomia), a side effect of some medications, can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.Paying for dental care on a fixed incomeIt can be daunting to think about the costs of dental care when you’re living on a fixed income, especially when faced with the prospect of expensive dental treatments. Many seniors require restorative treatments like dentures, bridges, or dental implants to maintain their oral health and quality of life. However, these treatments can come with a hefty price tag that may strain your budget.One avenue to explore is Medicare dental coverage. Traditional Medicare, Part A and Part B, generally doesn’t cover routine dental care, but some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer dental benefits. It’s essential for seniors to review the specific dental coverage options available within their Medicare plan or consider switching to a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental benefits if they anticipate needing extensive dental care.For those seeking more comprehensive dental coverage, supplemental insurance with a standalone dental plan is a viable option. Enrolling in dental insuranceDental insurance policies provide coverage for a range of dental services, including preventive care, basic procedures and even major restorative treatments. While there may be a monthly premium associated with standalone dental plans, they can ultimately help offset the costs of expensive treatments and get seniors the care they need without putting a strain on their finances. When exploring insurance options, consider factors like coverage and waiting periods. Some plans offer immediate full coverage for dentures, meaning that as soon as you enroll you can access benefits that cover some of the cost for dentures and other treatments. Having immediate full coverage ensures that you can address your needs without delays. Additionally, the type of dental network associated with your plan can greatly impact your experience. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) dental plans are known for flexibility and savings, and typically offer the freedom to choose the dentist or specialist that suits your needs. PPO plans also often provide further savings when you visit in-network dentists, helping you get the most value out of your coverage.Spirit has you coveredSpirit Dental offers various flexible dental insurance plans for seniors that provide coverage for a wide range of services. Explore plan options to keep your smile healthy — at any age.
As we age, dental care becomes increasingly important, and for many seniors, dentures become a vital part of maintaining oral health and quality of life. However, navigating the world of dental insurance for seniors and finding coverage that includes dentures can be a complex endeavor.Whether you’re a senior yourself or caring for an elderly loved one, read on to gain insights into ensuring proper denture care and finding dental insurance that covers dentures.Types of denturesFull denturesFull dentures, also known as complete dentures, are designed to replace all of a person’s natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaw, or both. They consist of a flesh-colored acrylic base that fits over the gums and a set of artificial teeth carefully crafted to resemble natural teeth. Full dentures are typically used when all natural teeth are missing or need to be removed. They provide essential support for facial structure and help seniors regain their ability to chew and speak effectively. Partial denturesPartial dentures are suitable for individuals who have lost only some of their natural teeth, rather than all. Like full dentures, these consist of an acrylic framework that holds the artificial teeth in place. Partial dentures are customized to fit comfortably in the mouth and are secured with clasps or other connectors to neighboring natural teeth. They not only restore aesthetics and functionality, but also prevent remaining teeth from shifting.Immediate denturesImmediate dentures, or “dentures in a day,” are a convenient option for seniors who need to have their remaining teeth extracted and replaced with dentures. The dentures are crafted before the teeth removal procedure. Right after the extraction, immediate dentures are placed in the mouth, allowing patients to have functional teeth throughout the healing process. Adjustments may be necessary as the gums and bone structure change during the healing period.Implant-retained denturesImplant-retained dentures combine the stability of dental implants with the convenience of removable dentures. Typically, two or more dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone, and the dentures are designed with attachments that securely snap onto these implants. This option offers increased stability and prevents denture slippage for increased comfortability. Implant-supported denturesImplant-supported dentures take the concept of stability to the next level. These dentures are firmly anchored to multiple dental implants surgically embedded into the jawbone. As a result, they offer exceptional stability, function and comfort. Implant-supported dentures allow you to eat a wider variety of foods. Denture careProper denture care is essential to maintain oral health, ensure the longevity of your dentures and prevent any potential discomfort. Here are some essential tips to keep your dentures clean and in good condition:Daily cleaning: Just like natural teeth, dentures require daily cleaning to remove food particles, plaque and bacteria. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or denture brush and a mild, non-abrasive denture cleaner to clean all surfaces of your dentures. Don’t use regular toothpaste — it can be too abrasive and may damage the denture material.Soaking: Remove your dentures at night and soak them in a denture-cleaning solution or warm water. This helps to maintain the dentures’ shape and keep them free from odor and stains. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for soaking times and solutions.Careful handling: When handling your dentures, be gentle to avoid accidentally bending or breaking them, which can lead to jaw pain or even TMJ. Use both hands and a soft towel or basin of water to prevent dropping and damaging them if they slip from your grasp.Regular checkups: See your dentist regularly. They can assess the fit and condition of your dentures and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Properly fitting dentures are more comfortable and effective.Oral hygiene: Even if you have full dentures, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene by gently brushing your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft toothbrush or damp cloth. This practice helps remove bacteria and keeps your mouth healthy.How much do dentures cost?The cost of dentures can vary depending on various factors, including the type of dentures you need, your location, the materials used and the complexity of your oral health condition. On average, basic full dentures can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,800 for a complete set. Partial dentures can range from $300 to $1,000 or more, depending on the design and materials. Implant-retained or implant-supported dentures come at a significantly higher cost, ranging from $3,500 to $30,000 or more per arch, depending on the number of implants required and the materials used. Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of dentures, but the coverage can vary widely depending on your plan.Full coverage dental insurance Dental insurance plans for seniors can provide coverage that includes dentures, offering financial assistance and peace of mind. While the extent of coverage may vary depending on your plan, enrolling in a plan can significantly alleviate the expenses related to dentures, whether they are full, partial, implant-retained or implant-supported.As you or your loved one embark on the journey of denture care and insurance options, remember that oral health is an integral part of overall well-being. Proper care and financial planning can ensure that you or your loved one continues to enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile, and dental insurance can play a pivotal role in making that a reality. Check out available dental insurance plans near you.Find the best plan for your needs today.
Prioritizing your health — including oral health — gets only more important with age. Dental insurance doesn’t just help you maintain a healthy smile; it also reduces the stress of unexpected care costs. Seniors on Medicare may believe dental is included in their policy, but chances are they have less coverage than they expect — or even none at all. Standalone dental plans are add-on plans that ensure you aren’t stuck paying hefty bills for preventative, basic, and major dental services. Keep reading to learn more.Selecting the right planMost seniors qualify for Medicare, but not all Medicare policies cover dental services. Medicare Part A only provides coverage for care deemed medically-necessary. Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, includes dental coverage, but this may come with an extra fee. The level of coverage you’ll get from Medicare Advantage varies. Standalone dental insurance is a separate plan that has its own monthly premium. By taking this route, you have access to a broad range of policies and can choose the one that offers the right amount of coverage at an affordable price. Evaluate your needsSince you’ve got dozens of options in terms of carriers and specific policies, it’s important to put some thought into selecting your standalone plan. First and foremost, think about your current oral health condition and what may be required in the foreseeable future. The whole purpose of enrolling in a plan is to save money on care, so check that procedures and treatments you may need will be covered.Additionally, weigh the cost of available plans against your budget. Remember that beyond preventative care, your plan’s cost includes more than just a monthly premium. You’ll likely have a deductible, copay, co-insurance, and an annual maximum — all of which have an impact on how much you’ll pay for your policy as well as for dental services.Finally, compare coverage details. While preventative care is fully covered by most dental insurance, whether basic and major restorative treatments are covered — and how much is covered — varies greatly across carriers and plans. Many policies also have a six or 12 month waiting period, meaning coverage won’t kick in until then.How much do full coverage standalone plans cost?A full coverage dental plan, depending on where you live among other factors, can cost anywhere between $25 and $80 per month. Keep in mind that comprehensive coverage doesn’t mean every dental service will be covered in full by your plan. Instead, it means you’ve got some level of coverage on a broader array of services. It’s critical to look at your plan details to ensure your coverage fits what you’re looking for. While insurance costs might seem steep, consider how much you’ll have to pay for unexpected treatments out of pocket. More often than not, the investment in dental insurance is worth it for seniors.Get an immediate full coverage standalone dental plan with SpiritFind affordable coverage from Spirit Dental & Vision. With no waiting periods, high annual maximums, and a variety of plans offering different levels of coverage, you’re sure to find the standalone plan that fits your needs. [ Get Your Free Quote]
Medicare provides great health insurance for people aged 65 and older, but it can also be confusing to navigate when applying for coverage and trying to understand what care will be paid for. Not to mention, Medicare does not include all types of care, like certain dental and vision services. We’ve got the information you need about what Medicare coverage provides and doesn’t provide, so you can make smarter decisions in purchasing supplemental plans. Medicare coverage: the basics Medicare can be categorized into different types, referred to as “parts.” Here’s what you need to know about Parts A through D. Medicare Part A Part A is hospital insurance, meaning you’re covered for: Inpatient hospital stays Care you receive in a skilled nursing facility Hospice care Some health care Medicare Part B Part B is medical insurance, which covers certain doctors’ services, along with medical supplies, preventive services, and outpatient care. Medicare Part C Part C is referred to as Medicare Advantage. It’s an alternative option to Original Medicare, as it’s an all-in-one solution that bundles Parts A and B. Part D (see below) is usually included as well, but you’ll need to confirm based on your policy. Medicare Part D Part D is prescription drug coverage. You can add this coverage to your Medicare plan if you want, but you’ll need to get it from either an insurance provider or private company that has Medicare approval. Does Medicare cover dental? In the above list of Medicare types, you’ll notice no mention of dental. Unfortunately, that’s because only Part C covers dental services, except in the case of in-hospital or emergency dental work. In these cases, Part A may step in — but the dental care itself may still not be covered (complicated, we know). What dental services are covered by Medicare? At a higher monthly premium, Medicare Part C covers routine dental care like exams, cleanings and x-rays. But even with this coverage, you’ll have to pay 100% for more extensive and costly procedures like root canals, bridges and crowns (unless deemed medically necessary). Does Medicare cover vision? Like dental care, vision services are also only covered under Medicare Advantage or when vision services are deemed medically necessary. But receiving this care is important, especially when you’re older. If you rely only on Medicare and you need a routine exam for your glasses or contacts, you’ll likely pay for it out of pocket unless you have additional coverage. What vision services are covered by Medicare? Medicare Part B might help with the costs of tests and treatments related to certain eye or vision disorders, like glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease. If you need surgery and corrective lenses for cataracts, or if you suffer from an eye injury, Medicare may assist in those situations as well. How to get dental and vision coverage on Medicare When Medicare falls short, don’t fret — you’ve got other options! People on Medicare have a couple of options to improve their dental and vision coverage with standalone or supplemental plans. Get standalone dental and vision insurance Seniors have a lot to consider when it comes to their oral health. The risk for problems like cavities and gum disease, as well as mouth cancer, increases with age. You may end up needing expensive procedures like extractions or root canals, or decide to get dentures or implants. This all adds up, but the right insurance can help you rest easy knowing costs are covered and you don’t have to break the bank to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Signing up for a standalone dental or vision insurance plan, like those offered by Spirit, provides more options and flexibility and puts you in control of your coverage and care. Get supplemental dental insurance Supplemental dental insurance helps to fill the gaps left by Medicare, enabling you to get the dental and vision services you need without paying in full. This means dental care like fillings, extractions, dentures, root canals and crowns, as well as vision exams, treatments and affordable glasses or contact lenses. Spirit Dental & Vision has you covered Keeping our mouths and eyes healthy is important at any age. Spirit Dental & Vision has numerous vision and dental insurance plans for individuals on Medicare to augment their coverage. Get a quote to find the right policy for you today.
As you get older, your teeth and gums change. This means you might need to see the dentist more often to treat problems like tooth decay and gum disease. It’s just part of the aging process. Unfortunately, dental care can be expensive, especially when you need to pay for it all out of pocket. And, as a senior, that can be really hard to do. Thankfully, dental insurance can help you save! When it comes to dental insurance for senior citizens, you have many options, and you don’t need to break the bank to get the right level of coverage. To show you what we mean, here’s a brief guide to dental insurance for seniors. Should seniors buy dental insurance? Absolutely! Having the right insurance can help you rest assured you’ll be able to see the dentist for preventive care and emergency treatments. As mentioned above, your teeth and gums change with age. Problems like cavities, root decay, and gingivitis or gum disease might arise. Some seniors end up losing their teeth, which might affect the jawbone or bite, while others develop uncomfortable dry mouth. And if you wear dentures, you might experience issues like inflammation. Plus, you might be at a higher risk of fungal infections or oral cancer. Wow, that’s a lot! Also worth noting: other health concerns (e.g. diabetes) might impact your mouth. And oral health problems might lead to issues in other areas of the body (e.g. cardiovascular disease). The point is you never know what will happen to your oral health, even if you always had strong teeth when you were younger. That’s why it’s wise to shop for affordable dental insurance for seniors. A plan that suits your fixed budget can help ensure you won’t ever have to skip a trip to the dentist. Does Medicare provide dental coverage? Many people are under the impression that Medicare will be there to help cover the cost of dental care, but the harsh truth is this isn’t the case. So, if you don’t plan accordingly, you might find yourself lacking the coverage you need to afford treatments. In fact, experts have found that roughly 65% of seniors on Medicare don’t have any dental coverage at all. Medicare Part A and Park B won’t cover routine dental care, such as exams, cleanings, and various restorative treatments. You might, however, receive some support if you need oral care that’s related to a medical condition. One way to get dental insurance for seniors on Medicare is by signing up for a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Options vary, so it’s best to thoroughly check a plan’s details to be sure you’ll receive routine dental care benefits at a price you can afford. What about Medicaid? If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you might be able to get some dental benefits. However, this may depend on where you live, as some states don’t provide any dental coverage while others might have limitations on what’s covered. Be sure to read the fine print so you’ll know exactly what you can get and what you’ll need to pay for out of pocket. Consider stand-alone dental insurance plans for seniors If you’re planning on buying dental insurance on your own, there are a couple of ways you can go about doing so. One option is to head to Healthcare.gov or your state-run Marketplace. Some companies that provide health insurance also offer dental plans, or you might be able to get dental coverage as part of a health plan. However, there might be limitations on when you can sign up, or you might be required to buy a medical plan if you’re purchasing a dental plan. Alternatively, you can purchase plans directly from insurance providers, and you can do so at any time of the year. This gives you a lot of freedom, and you can look at all of the details to compare plans carefully. Then, just select the one that will give you exactly what you want. Spirit offers high-quality dental plans for seniors At Spirit, you can find affordable yet comprehensive options designed for seniors. Perks include three cleanings per year, no waiting periods, high dental insurance annual maximums up to $5,000, coverage for implants, and the option of seeing any dentist you choose. All of this means you can get valuable support when paying for everything from preventive care to major services, so you won’t need to go over your budget or sacrifice getting the high-quality care you deserve. Keeping your smile bright and healthy in your golden years has never been easier! Sources: https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/guides/insurance/dental-insurance-for-seniors-are-these-plans-worth-it/ https://www.healthmarkets.com/resources/medicare/dental-coverage-for-seniors-over-65/ https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/hidden-tooth-infections-increase-heart-disease-risk-by-almost-three-times https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/gum-disease-and-the-connection-to-heart-disease https://www.axios.com/seniors-medicare-dental-insurance-f6a86baf-5cb1-4c9b-8667-7da310697aaf.html https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/dental-coverage/
There are multiple types of hearing loss, and one of them is sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). It’s important to know about it, including what can cause it and how it can be treated, because once you’re informed, you can take steps to protect or improve your own hearing or that of your loved ones. Ready to dive into this topic? Keep reading to access some helpful information. What is sensorineural hearing loss? Put simply, sensorineural hearing loss—a common cause of permanent hearing loss—occurs when the inner ear is damaged. For example, the auditory nerve or the tiny hair cells might be damaged, and that may result in loss of hearing. When this hearing loss develops, it could be mild, moderate, or severe, and it might also cause a total loss of hearing. Also, it might happen in one or both ears. If you experience SNHL, you might notice symptoms like the following: Trouble hearing people when they’re speaking, especially women and children Difficulty hearing sounds that are high-pitched Difficulty hearing when you’re in an environment with loud noise or background noise Tinnitus Trouble balancing Dizziness These symptoms may occur gradually, so you might not immediately realize that anything is wrong. However, if you develop sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), you may notice your hearing has changed over the course of days or even more rapidly than that. What can cause sensorineural hearing loss? This type of hearing loss can develop at some point in a person’s life or it might be present at birth. Although it isn’t always possible to pinpoint the cause of sensorineural hearing loss, some of the potential causes include: Aging Illness, such as from a viral infection or autoimmune disorder Meniere's disease Exposure to loud noises Tumor Trauma to the head Certain medications Genetics Can sensorineural hearing loss be treated? Good news: with the help of a doctor, you might be able to get a hearing aid that will help you hear better if you’re diagnosed with SNHL! You can also try using other tools, such as a phone amplifier, to see if they’re helpful as well. If the hearing loss is severe, your doctor might recommend getting a cochlear implant, which would need to be surgically placed. Learning speech reading and sign language might also be beneficial. Work with your doctor to keep track of your hearing As you get older, you might notice that your ability to hear starts to change. Or, you might experience an injury or be exposed to super loud noises that lead to changes in your hearing. When you notice that something isn’t right, it’s best to let your doctor know as soon as possible so you can figure out what’s going on and receive the right treatment. Another great way to keep track of your hearing is by seeing a doctor for a hearing test on a regular basis. By having a professional check your ability to hear sounds at various pitches, you might be able to find changes or problems in their earliest stages, maybe even before you notice anything is different. Whether your hearing loss is the result of the normal aging process or a condition that should be addressed, your doctor can be there to guide you. Sources: https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/sensorineural-hearing-loss/ https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003291.htm https://www.healthline.com/health/sensorineural-hearing-loss https://www.hearingloss.org/hearing-help/hearing-loss-basics/types-causes-and-treatment/ https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hearing-loss/types-of-hearing-loss https://www.hear-it.org/Sensorineural-hearing-loss https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/sensorineural-hearing-loss/