My Aunt has her own teeth and since she has worsening dementia, she has had dental problems with decay and gum disease. The facility she is in does not brush her teeth regularly, even when asked again and again in the care plan. After one (very difficult) trip to the dentist I reported to the facility nurse that it took the hygienist one and a half hours to simply clean impacted food from around my Aunt's teeth, She ordered the teeth brushing, but it is still hit and miss.
Because of the difficulty of going to the dentist, the lack of a traveling dentist, and the nature of my Aunt's oral health, which concerned the dentist given she had soft spots and decay, added to the ongoing trauma of that type of care for a person with dementia, the dentist applied silver nitrate to my Aunt's teeth. It's painted on. This stops the decay, reduces sensitivity and gives my Aunt relief from mouth pain. She eats better and is much happier. While this is not used in the United States (the affected spots on the teeth turn black, which is not a concern to us), it's used in Australia and Japan and is an option for elders where dental care is difficult, dementia is a factor or mouth pain is interfering with nutrition. If anyone has any other tips for dental care in dementia patients, I'd appreciate hearing about it. My mother's teeth calcified and she did not have pain, but my Aunt still has "live" teeth and toothaches are awful for anyone, but worse when you can't get to a dentist because you can't travel. My Aunt did not have to transfer to a dental chair for the procedure, and she was able to stay in her wheelchair for the whole trip as we paid for medical transport..