Gregory An, DDS, MPH, Director, Geriatric Dentistry Fellowship Program, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
The rate of edentulism (being toothless) is declining in older adults. Thanks to more effective community-based prevention programs , reliable treatment methods, and improved dental technology, people are retaining more of their natural teeth. Since it has been only recently that people have lived as long and retained so much of their teeth, research done in the area of normal and abnormal aging of the teeth is limited. This article reviews some of the current knowledge regarding normal aging of the different structures of teeth and clinical manifestations of advancing age. More specifically, age-related changes in tooth enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum are reviewed.
Key words: aging, dental, teeth, older, adults.