Follow
Share

Mama still has most of her teeth. I brush them daily and to do so discovered early on I had to use a little warm water and mouthwash instead of toothpaste as she was notorious for swallowing toothpaste. That seemed to work. Day before yesterday, one of her front teeth just broke off. I can tell that part of the tooth is still embedded in her gum. I immediately called her hospice nurse who had just been to the house and asked her what could be done. Mama was not complaining of pain but then she never complains about pain...never....I am sensing it is bothering her though and I know it is troubling me. While Hospice has not suggested they will not do anything about it, they have told me that usually this is not a problem and not to worry and just watch it, make sure it doesn't become infected, etc. etc. I can't imagine just leaving a rotten tooth root in Mama's gum. Has anyone out there dealt with this and if so what did you do? Mama is totally bedfast so in order to have a dental professional address this she will have to be transported by ambulance....also, I was initially told I could give her some of her morphine if she became painful...but IMO, I would rather not over administer morphine, especially for something where if it becomes painful it will not go away without pulling out the remaining root, or more than likely having to cut it out. Mama is tough and so probably could deal with just novocaine to do the procedure, just trying to figure out all the angles beforehand....any opinions or advice??

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Thank you so much for finding that. I had googled a lot but didn't find what i was looking for ...thank you for taking the time to search as well!! Mama is eating, so I'm hoping there is not any pain involved...I am keeping a close eye on it..and I'm sure our nurse will as well..she is really close to Mama and seems to take a personal interest in her comfort. thank you again!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I googled "elder teeth breaking off at gum line" and found a good British site where a dentist says just to keep an eye on whether there are sharp edges that might cause an ulcer on the tongue from rubbing over it. He said even if it causes an ulcer, in a couple of days, that spot won't feel so "new" and the person won't keep rubbing their tongue over it and the ulcer will heal.

He also specifically mentions dementia and says he has rarely had patients with dementia complain of tooth pain. He thinks it might be from either medication or a lack of pain awareness. So just keep an eye on whether your mom's tooth has sharp edges. If it does and it causes a problem, a dentist could come and smooth those edges out.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

blannie...thank you soooo much! that is great to know. Mama could care less about the "looks" aspect of her teeth at this point, and she does not need them to "eat" any longer as all she has for the past seven months is the Ensure's, Jevity smoothies, etc...she doesn't have to chew at all, so that is not a problem...I would be so thankful if we didn't have to do anything simply from the perspective of not wanting to trouble her any more than necessary...on the other hand, sure don't want a painful tooth. Hoping that maybe a dentist could just come out, look at it, and as long as he feels the tooth is dead or non painful, we can watch from here...all these things keep popping up that you don't think about til they happen...she isn't complaining and while she had kind of stopped wanting to eat anything, I think she may have had one of those "summer colds" and that is about gone now so she is eating again...I bought the one of those super soft toothbrushes and try to just steer clear of that area other than rinsing as much as possible until we can determine what is going on here...everyone's advice has been so helpful and so comforting...I do appreciate all of your input.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom is 94 and has had several teeth break off at the gum line. As a previous answer said, their teeth get brittle at that point. My mom has never had any pain with her teeth breaking off and always tries to hide it from me. Yeah, like I'm not going to notice a missing front tooth! Since my mom is still up and around, I've taken her to a dentist who has been able to make a fake tooth in one visit. We've done that twice (once for a front tooth and once for a tooth one spot away from the front). I believe the dentist has left both roots intact. She's also totally lost a tooth in the front bottom and again, doesn't complain of any pain. So I'd keep an eye on it and make sure the area is kept as clean as you can, but I wouldn't try to get it fixed or pulled unless it starts to look infected or she complains of pain. If she's on hospice, the goal at this point is to keep her comfortable and pain free.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks everybody...yes, Mama is holding her own healthwise, she is totally bedfast, but her "health" seems to be pretty good for someone 90 years old. So certainly making sure this is not going to be an issue is imperative. Mama is like me, has never had to have gas, etc. to have anything done...even when she and I have had major dental work done, always just numbed it up good and so I am hoping we can find someone who will just come here and do it...hospice did tell me they could transport her via ambulance to wherever they needed though, so they are on board if that becomes necessary...It would just work so much better if they came here, but then our town is not a progressive one either, so may be harder to find someone willing to do this...yet again, the fact that it is a smaller community might mean someone would be MORE likely to come...just hoping to get it done soon....painful teeth are the worst....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hope 22, I am glad the kit worked. I took my mom to the dentist back in Feb. and I didn't stick around, as I booked my aunt the same day to see the dentist as well. I put mom in chair, and she has ALZ. then grabbed aunt. By the time I got back to dentist, mom was done. Long story short - mom ended up with a seizure. ER doctor asked me why I was getting her teeth cleaned at her age. I got their teeth cleaned every month. I certainly didn't expect this to happen. I am no expert on any of this stuff, just experiencing and learning, a my friend's dad ended up in hospital due to bad fitting dentures. He had his over 10 years, and never got them checked. Bacteria ended up in blood and started to affect his heart. Doctor was smart enough to check his teeth and put him on antibiotics. It saved him. Years later, hIs body like all of ours will, gave way around 93 years old. We had a celebration of life for him. Everyone wore Luau clothes, even the minister! Friend says dad had a wonderful life, and nothing to regret.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Talk to her own dentist don't wait for the hospice "team" He/She may be compassionate enough to make a home visit and take care of the problem. The dentist can give enough Novacaine to make extracting the root painless for mama and do it safely at home. If you have to make a trip to the dentist office insist hospice arrange this and pay for it. They may not want to but this is a reasonable request. The dentist may or may not want her to have a few days on antibiotics before he attemts the proceedure and certainly afterwards. All of this is assuming you do not expect her to die within the next couple of weeks. Also do get some ambesol because she is going to keep "worrying' the tooth with her tongue and inevitably it will get sore and be painful when she eats. Anyway first thing in the morning talk to the dentist and follow his advice. The tooth may or may not be dead only the dentist can tell you that.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hope, I'm glad the kit was helpful - I was going to suggest a trip to the pharmacy to see what they had to offer. You can get temporary filling stuff, too, that you can 'pack' the gap with (as I found out when I lost a crown one Christmas Eve!).

Also, I don't know what your local dental services are like, but is there not one practitioner who would be prepared to come and examine your mother in her own home? Even if they don't advertise this as a service, you could try asking/bribing/demanding with menaces?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The kit says you can use it every four hours up to seven days....so hopefully that will help until we can get it addressed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

iloveMom...she doesn't have dentures so this is her natural teeth...she has not complained but this morning I noticed she seemed to be grinding her teeth on that side and I asked her did it hurt...she said yes....I panicked.....my mother NEVER says anything hurt...and this is a woman who has had a leg swell three times it's normal size while waiting in the ER when she broke her legs years ago...Nurses were about to pass out looking at it and she was just smiling and saying..."it's ok, don't trouble yourself.."...so her saying it hurt, I KNOW it hurt. Last night I ran to Walgreen and got one of the little toothache kits my brother told me about last night when I told him what was going on..He said his experience with that was better than the anbesol, etc. so I got one to have on hand. It is kind of tedious getting that little dot of cotton to just sit there on the socket (you're not supposed to touch it to the surrounding skin) but I managed to get it done...took about a minute...and Mama said it felt a lot better....she is now fast asleep...bless her heart...I am thinking now it has been hurting more than she was letting on..I KNOW it was hurting me...

That was my concern, the bacterial issues in the bloodstream etc. ...I will let our nurse know about this morning, but she is talking with dentists to find someone who can come out and look at it and also has consulted with our doctor and hospice team....it's great to see her looking rested...glad I went on and had that little kit on hand...and thinking on it, that is something we ALL need to have on hand in case of a sudden toothache emergency, right? I also saw they had things where you could temporarily fix a lost filling, etc...who knew??? I am going to go back and restock my medicine cabinet because things like that seem essential for all of us to have on hand....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ASK DOCTOR AND DENTIST... IF TOOTH GETS ABSESSED, IT COULD POSSIBLY AFFECT THE BLOOD? OR,IS THIS JUST WITH BAD DENTURES?

DOES SHE UNDERSTAND WHATS GOING ON? DOES IT HURT?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Pamstegman, the tooth is indeed discolored...I did not know that...so if this is the case...it is most likely dead and doesn't hurt?? that is certainly a relief to know this. Mama continues to say it is not hurting...I do see her putting her tongue around the area of the tooth socket and I can see some of the darkened too root in there, but it is not swollen, she has not run a fever, so I'm hopeful all of this would indicate it doesn't hurt. The only thing of concern is since this happened she seems to have lost her appetite somewhat...the nurse called today and said she is researching this with their team and will confirm with a dentist, but I also do not want to be doing invasive things that might do more harm than good...it is a relief to know that this tooth is most likely dead and so no sensation...thank you
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

No oral surgery, no dentist trip. If you don't see any sign of abscess, and the tooth is discolored, it is likely a dead tooth and there is no sensation there.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think hospice's suggestion is a good one. Teeth get fragile in the elderly and sometimes they break at the gum line. I would keep an eye on it, as they suggested. Since your mother is on hospice, a dentist may not wish to do oral surgery on her and risk the complications if something goes wrong. I knew that my father's teeth were so bad that we would have to go to the hospital to have anything done. Just keep an eye on it and ask your hospice nurse what to do if infection or abscess occurs or if your mother has pain.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

great idea...I can't help being worried. Nothing hurts worse to me than a painful tooth...she isn't complaining...but like I said, she never complains about stuff like this
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think that I would call my own dentist's office and ask to speak to him/her. The dentist might be able to look at pictures and give you advice.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.