My Mom (91) went to the dentist and needs a root canal. She doesn't want it 'at her age'. What should I do?

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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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