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What about just having it pulled? That would be less invasive and still take care of the problem. I hope it all works out.
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At 91, I would encourage her to have it extracted. A root canal is not pleasant for a younger person let alone someone at the age of 91, also.. they are very expensive and dentists want the money!
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daisy - I reviewed and realize that you haven't said where is the problem tooth is located and I think it's because my question but somewhat truncated and you didn't see that I asked that question??

If the offending toith is not in a visible place, getting it removed by an oral surgeon maybe the best solution and a lot easier on your mom then having a root canal. The purpose of a root canal is to conserve the to sit in that space and all of it needs a crown as well. Not only very costly but a lot of sitting and oral manipulation for a person with dementia. It will be interesting to hear what the third opinion dentist has to say. Please give us an update.
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Where is the problem to located? Would pulling it leave a visible gap or affect her current dentures if she has them? My mom lost a lower front tooth from biting a sandwich of all things. That bothered her for a long time because she could see it was missing and she thought it looked bad. Eventually, she didn't care very much about it. Later she complained of pain in lower left molars and had to take both of them out. She was no longer able to wear her dentures which completely changed what she was able to eat. She was 93+ at that time and we decided she couldn't handle all the fussing and the fitting, etc. that would be required to get new dentures.

If decide that pulling is the best option, be sure to consider an oral surgeon to do the job rather than a dentist.
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I found a 3rd opinion dentist, we go tomorrow. Also, I had to go thru all her past dental records [while she lived alone] and found out she she has been to 2 other dentists and her tooth issues go back to 2004. I learn more and more about my mom everyday [she told me a story abt a horrible dentist visit when she was a young girl] I guess this is my turn to help her out with her 'fear'
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Persie - I am sorry you find my corrections annoying. I guarantee you that they are just as annoying to me to have to do them. While I consider it an honor to be able to post on this site and share my long-term experience with caretaking, I am disabled and cannot at this time in my life sit up at my computer and type from a keyboard. I am only able to use my android phone and the little touch pad is impossible for me to type from. The space allowed for the input box and the type font are fairly small. I make the best effort I can but because there is no edit before posting feature, I sometimes do not find all of the voice recognition errors before I post. I have only had the ability to use this phone for a few months and I am striving to be better at it. Be assured, I am doing the best I can and will continue to improve as time goes on.
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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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I work in the dental field and I agree with having it pulled verses root canal treatment. During a root canal they remove the nerve and then the tooth becomes brittle therefore needing a crown. At age 91 I would probably opt for extracting the tooth when it becomes painful. There is a dental office on every corner and alot of them go above and beyond for the money. And I wouldn't let an oral surgeon put her under for that. The lidocaine is what gets rid of the pain during the extraction.
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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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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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