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Mom has all sorts of health issues - on top of Alzheimers. Now I learn she has 2 severely decayed teeth. Dental care...Extensive restorative treatment versus extraction of 2 severely decayed teeth. Dentist recommends root canals, fancy white crowns that will "last for years." I'm not so sure this "general dentistry" office even has the capability of dealing with everything. She still has all her teeth. She has a compromised immune system - can't even have her teeth cleaned without prophylaxis antibiotics & is on blood thinners for a-fib. She needs a revision hip replacement (she can barely walk & is prone to falls trying to compensate for the pain.) Dentist says she can't possibly have hip surgery with the state of her oral health - with all the bacteria in her mouth. Finances are also a consideration with the teeth. Falling would be catastrophic. Is pulling 2 teeth barbaric or ???



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Glad to hear that things worked out well without all that work.
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Heather, thank you so much for posting back ! We went through this recently with mom. One dentist wanted to extract multiple teeth to do new upper and lower dentures. Nope. Mom is chewing just fine with the many teeth she has that are hers.
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I wanted to share/update on my original question...After MUCH research and searching, I found a geriatric dentist. IT WAS WORTH THE HASSLE! After a thorough and thoughtful exam, mom needed one filling - ONE. What was supposed to cost thousands, cost a few hundred. I am so happy to have found this dentist - he is a geriatric dental instructor at the University of MN...I am VERY disgusted by the local dentist who proposed all that work be done. To my fellow caregivers, if your gut tells you something doesn't seem right...Don't settle. Not only was the work he proposed expensive as hell, but it would have been hard on my mom to sit thru all that work and for what? And - I was thinking that pulling her two HORRIBLE teeth was a better option. Jeesh!
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Thank you! We just changed her from Pradaxa back to coumadin - for the simple reason they can counteract the bleeding. With Pradaxa a person can bleed out. Her Alz took a huge leap "forward" this past year. I'm pretty certain losing 2 teeth is a lot less disruptive/traumatic than going thru the root canal/crowing process...not to mention the financial investment for something that will far outlast her life expectancy. There's a slow growing dental specialty - geriatric dentistry. I live in MN & can find anybody who practices this...With complex co-morbidities, and the exploding "aging boomer" population, come on people...get on the ball!!! (I wonder if the reason for this is because seniors either have no dental insurance or poor insurance & Medicare does not cover it - with the exception of very specific.) circumstances.)
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This is a tough decision. She will need to go off the blood thinners before having the dental work done. How advanced is her Alz and her health issues. Personally I would not invest in crowns if life expectancy wasn't several years. Extraction would be better, IMO. Many older people have teeth removed. The main consideration would be the blood thinner and antibiotics. I would have to have complete faith in the oral surgeon doing the work.
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