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Daisy it sounds like you did the right thing in both situations. Can you share if you are happy with your decisions or if you would have done something differently? My mother is 81, in hospice, and today the dentist said she needs two root canals...bless you for sharing your experience.
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They are planning to do local to pull the 2 teeth, so that is safer. Bad memory but she is capable of ADLs. She is just very stubborn. I am planning to contact the dentist and find out how bad the teeth are and how long they may last, as is. The chance of infection and how bad it is to wait until it happens.
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As CM said does she have capacity? if she does then "No is No" Culd she tolerate a light anesthetic maybe some Versed or Propothal. have to be done by a dental surgeon with an anesthesiologist present but might be worth it if there looks like a bad outcome if nothing is done. Don't discourage the antibiotics because she might need them anyway.
You can certainly leave well enough alone till she can't stand the pain.I have only had one root canal and it was a long process and very tiring but the local.
anesthetic worked well.
At her age she is going to die from something anyway so that may happen before the teeth get too bad for her to stand it.
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Daisy, I can't remember if your mother has capacity or not? If she has, it's up to her; and it's up to her to cope with the pain and misery too - owww, it makes me hurt just to think of it!

For chapter and verse on the risks and consequences, ask her dentist to spell it out and not spare your mother's feelings. Infection probably is the biggest concern - and you could chip in a comment or two about how antibiotics can give you nasty tummy upsets, too - from a health care point of view. But as far as you can, let the dentist be the bearer of bad news and menaces while you stand by with the oil of cloves, a sympathetic expression on your face, and a heartfelt "well, darling mama, you can't say he didn't warn you..."
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I think the underlying issues are not only pain, infection, age but what to expect in terms of complications.

Has the dentist indicated whether or not there's an infection, and if so, does your mother have cardiac issues? Does she brush after each meal? If no to both those questions, there's a risk of bacteria being swallowed and getting into pathways where it can cause problems.

So I would ask her dentist what could happen if she doesn't have either a root canal or extraction.

As to the former, I had 3 root canals back in 1990 when 6 teeth were knocked loose by a wayward tree branch that didn't want to be cut. In the last 5 years of so, one of the root canals failed, began changing color, and eventually the tooth just broke off, at the base. Another tooth broke off and had to be extracted after eating some delicious artisan bread.

In my case though, the root canal teeth were knocked so loose the nerves were almost severed, and I was warned that eventually the teeth might fail.

So a lot really depends on the situation in your mother's teeth and mouth as well as the possible complications if she doesn't brush and rinse regularly.

If you do decide to go ahead with either procedure, you don't have to tell her she's getting a root canal or extraction. You can therapeutically fib and tell her it's a complicated filling or aggressive cleaning, or something that you think would make sense to her.

I'm interested as well in which essential oils you use for infection. I might consider trying that for my father, after checking with his dentist and cardiologist. I'd rather do that than use antibiotics more often.
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So as the original question was asked 3 years ago now my mom is 94! We did nothing! now she has to have 2 teeth extracted. Still refusing to do this. If she does nothing what to expect next? Toothaches? Infections? She has no symptoms, no pain. Do I postpone it until she is so uncomfortable or if pain comes up? I have excellent results with essential oils that could knock out an infection if she is consistent with applying it to the tooth. She is very stubborn.
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peeweedeb .. I agree!
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Skip the root canal!
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I'm from B.C on the west coast of Canada and root canals are the same price as they are in California, Washington Oregon etc. The amount you paid was an exception to the rule.
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The dentist and I have a relationship. Doctor/patient relationship. We talk turkey.. I tell him what to do, and he does it.
The root canal on the tooth of which I spoke had a crown on it. He had to drill through the crown and top it off with an additional composite.( porcelain).
p.. s.
Everyone here knows that I live in the South.. Cheap. Cheap. When I travel to the northeast, I just about fall off the chair looking at the prices on food, hotels, clothing, transportation etc. I'll never live in the north again.
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I have no dental insurance. I just found an inexpensive dentist who is good at what he does. He's been around for a long time....ready to retire, I guess.
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N1K2R3 .. or possibly you have dental insurance and all you had to pay out of pocket was $149.00 and your insurance covered the rest? For those of us who have no dental insurance the cost of a root canal is very expensive and if it is a larger molar at the back it can be well over $1,000 for the root canal and then the cost of a crown on top of that.
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Hey it is her tooth, or teeth, it is her money, let her spend it on herself for what she needs.
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N1K2R3 .. I would run as fast as I can away from any dentist that charged $149.00 for a root canal, some fillings cost more than that! I think you are mistaken? Where do you live?
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I don't know where you live, but here the root canal I had two years ago cost me $149.00 including two follow up visits, including x-rays, and a prescription for pain, if needed.
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At the age of 91, cost is an important factor when it comes to dentistry. Combining the cost of a root canal and a new crown.. at minimum it will be $3,000. It may not be an option for a 91 year old woman to spend $3,000 to preserve one tooth.
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The alternative to a root canal , a common endodontic procedure, is extraction.
I would opt for the root canal, without knowing the patient, nor the history of the teeth, she should choose the root canal first. Just my opinion.....unless it is tooth numbers 1,2, 15,16,32,31, the last molars ( wisdom teeth). No need for wisdom teeth now.
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I'd get the root canal done, extractions can cause tremendous problems especially for someone her age, the blood loss and hole in her gum would be bad news imo. Dentistry today is much better than it was when she was a kid, get it all numbed up and do it, but then I would say a crown is inorder. When you look at it this way, her teeth allow her to enjoy her food, and since older people have issues as it is with eating, I would do what is needed to keep her chewing her food, she could live to over a 100, you just don't know and bad teeth and gums, well they cause all sorts of health problems, a tooth loss could shift her whole jawline.
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macada - I thought measurable was an adequate word, after $40K, would a significant experience have described it better?

And l apologize for confusing the anesthesia comment with you when it was actually Sylvial who mentioned that.
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hey daisy.. if crowns are taken off a tooth that means that a new crown has to be made and cemented on (between $1,000 and $2,000 ), I have never heard of taking a crown off to clean roots? They can even do a root canal through a crown. Perhaps you should wait until she has pain.
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Took mom to dentist today. He took new xrays and she has one cavity and 2 crowns that he says should be taken off and the roots cleaned. We booked apt for the cavity.When I asked him abt extracting the crowned teeth he said it is too traumatic for a 91 year old. I am still not sure what to do. Maybe wait till she has pain?
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CarolLynn.. first of all, I'm not sure what you meant by a "measurable amount" of experience in the dental world, I have had a great deal of experience in the dental world not only for myself but my occupation for almost 30 years has been geriatric care. I have taken many elderly people for dental visits. Secondly, please show me where I stated that "I assume oral surgery meant anesthesia", I really would like to know where I said that. I have had 4 teeth extracted and none of them have been under anesthesia, including the one by the oral surgeon! Perhaps we live in different countries and our dentists determine things differently!
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macada - you have certainly had a measurable amount of experience in the dental world. And of course daisy will make the best decision for her mom. But your experience with dentists in oral surgeons has not been the same as mine. For one, you assumed oral surgery meant being put under anesthesia. Not true. Second, you were charged a consultation fee and that seems to be your main objection to an oral surgeon. Besides this last incident when my mom was 93, I had accompanied her on several occasions two different oral surgeons in 3 different cities. In each case she was seen by a dentist first who referred her to the oral surgeon. There was never a consultation fee from the oral surgeon. Also, this last time when my mom was suffering from dementia, I can tell you that the oral surgeon's office is a lot more peaceful with your patients being shuffled about and when my mom experienced anxiety, they were immediately and professionally prepared to calm her with nitrous oxide. Not only that but because their office was not overly crowded with patients, and because of my mothers anxiety, they were able to permit me to sit within 5 feet of my mother where she could see me and at Remax her considerably. 3 different dentist in my area have said they always referto an oral surgeon for tooth removal especially in elders to avoid complications of nerve damage or crumbled root left in. So I guess that's been the same experience as pstiegman with her dentist as well. Ms. daisy I'm sure will consult with the proper professionals and make the right decision for her mom.
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pstiegman.. with all due respect I am assuming you are not 91. There is nothing painless about paying $100 for a consultation with an oral surgeon, especially for someone who is on a fixed income. I have had 3 wisdom teeth extracted by a general dentist and it was equally as painless as the one extracted by the oral surgeon but a lot less expensive.
I'm sure daisy001 will make whatever decision she feels is best for her mum.
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My dentist may be able to, but he always refers me to an oral surgeon for extractions.
They are painless and quick.
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a general dentist will do an extraction as well, especially for a 91 year old, it would almost be unethical if they were able to and didn't.
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Dentists will all want to do a root canal. Get an opinion from an Oral Surgeon, because he will do an extraction, which is a lot less fuss and expense.
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clh777.. my teeth have been an investment over my lifetime, there is nothing like real teeth. The money I have spent has been over a 30 year period not all at once. I have paid off the mortgage on my condo and I have never driven so I don't need a car, so I put my money where my mouth is. I don't drink or smoke, I have a nice smile and I can chew any foods I want. When you say I could have invested that money wisely that is an individual opinion because I do feel I invested my money wisely. Regardless, my point was that a consultation with an oral surgeon is very expensive and probably not necessary.
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Macada,

I can't imagine spending that amount of money on teeth of all things.......you could buy a car or a down payment on a house with that kind of money or take that money and invest it wisely. To me that would be a much better investment but that is just my opinion.

I chose partials, upper and lower verses root canals, dowel posts and crowns that aren't even guaranteed to stay put anyway. Am I embarrassed that I have partials at 41? Absolutely not, they work just fine for me. I just tend to be very practical.
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Fyi.. I have spent over $40,000 dollars on my teeth (no insurance) I have had over 10 root canals and just as many crowns, I have also been to an oral surgeon and it should be known that I was charged over $100 just for the consultation.. specialists are very expensive. I would go to a general dentist first, have him x-ray the problem tooth and he will be able to tell you if he can do the extraction or not. Most general dentists can do extractions unless they are wisdom teeth. The fewer dentist visits for a 91 year old the better!
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