I was rolling grandma back into her room today. As I approached the bed, I noticed something sitting on the floor. I thought it was poop. That's what it generally is. But it was a broken molar. As I'm holding it, grandma says a tooth fell out. It took a lot of effort, grandma doesn't like to open her mouth for anyone to look in. I saw that 3 molars in a row are snapped off at the gum line. There doesn't seem to be any inflammation. The color looks normal. They don't appear to be infected. It just appears that her teeth snapped off due to loss of mineral mass.
What to do? Grandma is in her young 100s. She does not like people messing with her mouth. She's a biter. I can't even brush her teeth. She'll bite me or the toothbrush and not let go. I can kind of get her to brush her own teeth. She doesn't do a great job but it's better than nothing.
The point is that I don't even know if it's possible for a surgeon to be able to exam let alone extract her broken teeth. She won't cooperate. Even with an appliance to keep her mouth open, she'll bite down hard and struggle. So it would have to be anesthesia of some sort. It would have to be deep. She's a fighter. In her condition, I'm not sure she would recover.
Even if the teeth could be pulled, she's going to pick at the suture line like she does with every bandage I put on her. It's not going to be pretty. She's a fan of picking wounds back open. Unlike with a skin wound where I can super wrap it to deter that, I can't do anything about stitches in her mouth.
So I'm leaning towards letting them be. It's not unheard of that the stubs will erupt and end up being a chewing surface or erupt out all the way on their own and fall out.
What have people's experiences been with broken teeth in the elderly? To extract or not, that is the question.