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Should I be worried about infection? She's not in any pain and still has a healthy appetite. She has regular hygienist appointments every 3 months and there was not a concern about her teeth until her last visit. But, to me the teeth she has left don't look good. The tooth that fell out was already loose from her bridge rubbing on it in the past. The dentist is coming out to check on her but I don't know if she'll allow him to check out her teeth. What would you do?

This is a pretty common challenge in the elderly. I think any solution depends on her cooperativeness with the dentist and procedures. If she doesn't cooperate I'd just make sure she is being checked for infection.

My aunt is 99 with advanced dementia and she stopped wearing her partials and bridges. Her dentist filed (or cut) down the teeth in those areas and she does still have other teeth, but is missing about 50% of them. She still manages to eat most foods. Chasing after dental care can be a black hole of time and money with very little gain for the LO. Your mom's health and comfort is the goal, so monitoring for infection would be my strategy going forward.
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Ah, the ongoing nightmare of God's big mistake: one set of teeth which are expected to last a person for 90+ years if they live to advanced old age. My mother is 94+ and loses teeth or pieces of teeth on a regular basis. I threw away her partial when I moved her from AL into Memory care 2 years ago b/c she refused to wear it. Since then, she's lost about 3 more teeth including a WISDOM tooth! I was shocked when I heard that. The visiting dentist charged nearly $1000 for that little extraction since it was considered a 'surgical procedure'. Ahem. So last week when we went to see her, she explained she'd lost a 'little little little baby tooth' while she was eating the night before, which could mean anything from a bit of a filling to a piece of a tooth to nothing at all. She says she's in no pain & eats like a truck driver, so all's well until it isn't at which time I'll call the robbers back in, ooops, I mean the traveling dentists. But it's a very traumatic experience for her when they do come, not to mention a very expensive one, so I try to limit their visits. Mom has no molars left (I don't think) but all of her front uppers and lowers, which is all she cares about. They don't look good at all, either, but hey, they're THERE at 94+ which is nothing short of miraculous, right? :)

Do the least you can possibly do for your mother's teeth/mouth situation, that's my advice. As long as she can eat, she's good to go. If she's like my mother, she can wolf down ice cream like there's no tomorrow and they need NO teeth to do that! LOL
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MJ1929 Jun 16, 2021
"Eats like a truck driver." 😄😄😄
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My mom's nursing home called re on Sunday and told me Mom lost a tooth at breakfast. Did I want them to save it for me?

Do I look like the Tooth Fairy?? 😄

I was there today with er hospice nurse, and we checked her mouth to find out she's not missing A tooth -- she's missing three!

The nurse said that absent an infection or red swollen gums, loosing teeth is just another of the indignities of old age. You adjust their diet as needed and move on.

Not in a million years would I subject my mother to a dentist, bridges, or dentures at this point, so we'll just soften up some of her meals (she consumes very little beyond Ensure anyway) and continue as before.
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Lea,

I agree! Why can’t people be like sharks that generate new teeth when others fall out? LOL.

God goofed with designing our teeth!
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disgustedtoo Jun 16, 2021
Certainly did - why waste wisdom on teeth? And then people have those teeth removed...

Funny thing is one of the last times I went to our "family" dentist (childhood+), the hygienist took x-rays and asked me if I had my wisdom teeth out. I should think they would know whether or not I had any to begin with, since they take x-rays every year! I said no. So she said I don't have any. Good. My wisdom wasn't wasted on teeth AND I won't have to have them removed!
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My husband stopped wearing his dentures 2 years ago as he could no longer handle them. He never went to the dentist anyway so I never took him after that. I just checked in his mouth with a flashlight to make sure his gums looked healthy about once a week. He still ate regular food. Sure, it was not attractive but at that point that was the least of my worries.
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I'm thinking salt water or mouthwash rinse, just to keep it clean. At a point we decided the dentures were more of a choke risk than help.
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I’m a retired dental hygienist who practiced and taught. It comes to a point where we have to be realistic. My dad lost his lower denture in the NH and his upper wouldn’t stay in due to his weight loss. He wanted another set but I knew that would be unrealistic so I had the upper relined. It was just the temporary one at first and he tore it out of his denture that night!!! So I said, that's it! No more and he ate a soft diet without his teeth.
for your mom, I also would not recommend a new denture, partial or bridge etc. keep the teeth she has cleaned with anti cavity toothpaste and a mild fluoride mouthwash like Act to help prevent decay. It would be helpful if she can have the hygienist continue to help maintain the ones she has left. If she has dry mouth, the fluoride rinse is even more important. Bioteen makes great products for dry mouth. Find them on the dental aisle of a drug store.
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I had a situation like this - went through a visiting dentist creating a partial bridge for my mom in memory care who suddenly started losing teeth at the gum line. It was not really a great use of our time and money, as she only lived another 6 months or so and she hated the bridge, saying it hurt her cheek. I wish we'd just skipped it, but at the time I didn't know that it wouldn't work for her and also, of course, had no idea she'd only live that long. But when someone has the option of softer foods, and is not in any pain from the missing teeth, as others have already responded, it's probably best not to fret and not to invest in dentures, etc., especially when there's dementia.
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Reply to KatyAdams
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If she's not in pain and still able to eat pain-free, then I wouldn't do anything. You can't force her to wear her dentures. Just adjust her foods.
Have the dentist come and check her out anyway. He'll probably tell you the same thing. It's still important to keep up on her oral hygiene though. Even though her remaining teeth don't look good there could be nothing actually wrong with them.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Forget the teeth - old people are notorious for bad teeth and will always lose false teeth. When they have no teeth, they will eat soft, mushy foods. They'll survive.
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