What should I do, if anything, when my mom (90) says she will not have the dental work done that the dentist recommended? - AgingCare.com

What should I do, if anything, when my mom (90) says she will not have the dental work done that the dentist recommended?

Follow
Share

Mom doesn't have many teeth left, but they continue to give her problems. The most recent visit to the dentist because of a painful, infected root resulted in the dentist telling her she needed to have the rest of her teeth removed. He will remove the teeth but he wants her to see a denture specialist to get fitted for dentures. He sent her home with antibiotics and two scheduled appointments. She told me this morning she wasn't going to have the work done because she is 90 years old. I would be inclined to say "fine, your decision, mom," but isn't this dangerous? Can't infected teeth lead to other more serious problems? How forceful should I be about this? Or should I just let it go and wait for another painful incident? I can't force her to do anything, and I kind of understand her reluctance - pain, money, etc.


Ideas?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
6

Answers

Show:
Thank you for your advice. It all helps. I didn't know how many teeth we are talking about here but it turns out it's four. And the dentist says they are all in bad shape. My husband, her son-in-law, went over to talk this over with her. I get so emotional and worried and that's not so good dealing with some of the issues that come up. He is calm. She was worried, as much as we can figure out, about the money. She wants to leave money for her kids and she thought this would be expensive. And too she was kind of thinking she was going to die pretty soon so what did it matter. Boy, compassion and patience really are important, aren't they. So my husband reassured her that her kids didn't need the money and explained that she could live to be a 100 and wouldn't it be a good thing not to have to deal with dental pain. And so she is going ahead here.

It is really about dealing with these things as they arise and not making assumptions or judgments. I'll continue to try to do better at that. But you each helped. Thank you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I really meant to say; just have the infected tooth pulled for now, don't worry about the rest or about getting dentures. Unless of course they are all infected?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There may be lots of good reasons for your mother's reluctance to go ahead with this work. Which after all involves having all her teeth pulled out and waking up every morning to see her dentures grinning at her on the nightstand. It's not going to be the most fun she's ever had, is it?

But. The reason she gave you - the only reason? - is that she is ninety years old. And that is a *terrible* reason for continuing to be in pain, to carry around infections which could cause serious complications, and/or to have to take unpleasant courses of antibiotics which have their own risks, to be unable to enjoy eating and drinking normally, to suffer from bad breath and be socially embarrassed...

Being ninety is no reason not to take care of yourself, like any self-respecting person does. Tell her she's worth it; and if it then emerges that she is in fact frightened of the pain or the procedures then do a bit more homework and see if you can't reassure her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Agree with JoAnn. But not knowing her history it's hard to say if she can tolerate that sort of dental surgery.
Antibiotics are just a bandaid.
My mom had all her bottom teeth removed about 5 yrs before she passed after being told for years they can cause  a major infection that can travel to your heart and cause endocarditis. She did remarkably well. She was about 84.
Tough decision for all of you. How many teeth need to be pulled? All of my mom's lower teeth were a mess but she definitely followed her doctor's advice and got them removed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Infections in teeth can travel and cause a number of problem. Explain
That to her and have the rest of her teeth removed.  If she doesn't want dentures that's her decision.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would let it go for now and treat problems as they arise. She may eventually lose her teeth one by one, but that is her choice to make.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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