Mom's lower teeth are in bad shape. Any thoughts? -

Mom's lower teeth are in bad shape. Any thoughts?


My Mom who is 91 now has been to the dentist and he said (this was about 4 months ago) that her lower teeth were in bad shape. Anyway, food keeps getting stuck in her teeth which is very annoying to her. She already had 2 teeth extracted. A few days ago one of her teeth fell out and now food is getting stuck again in the teeth surrounding that open area. I made an app't to get the 2 surrounding teeth extracted. I don't know if my Mom could wear a lower denture or just gum it as she will be left with 4 natural lower teeth. One option is for her to get implants but I don't think she could handle the pain and healing that goes with it. I just don't want her to be upset with this food (even though I grind most food up) getting stuck in her teeth. Any thoughts?

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You know your mom best, there is no point getting dentures if she won't use them, but I'd be concerned about the upper "teeth" causing injury to the lower gums. My mom has had a full upper for decades and was forced to have her lower molars removed due to neglect, they restored her 6 front teeth so the could attach the partial. Mom was already in her 90's and I was worried about having to have so many teeth extracted but I found a dentist that worked with local nursing homes and he was very good, she only needed local freezing.
As for the cleaning between the gaps in her teeth, our dentist recommended a proxabrush and it works great.
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Thanks so much for your reply as I found it very helpful. I don't know what stage dementia my Mom has but if I had to guess I would say it's moderate right now.

My Mom is conscious of how she looks and even puts on makeup. I take her out a lot (markets, clothing stores, etc.). There are not many dentists where I live and the dentists that are good are not familiar with dementia. I'm hoping that once my Mom loses all her lower teeth she will be able to use her gum (she does wear an upper denture).

I agree that getting implants is a bad idea. I went through it myself and it was painful and a long healing process. Thanks again!
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I would discuss your concerns with her dentist. And hopefully, he's familiar with dementia patients and understands that invasive procedures are not very feasible. My cousin's dentist is very sensitive. I discussed her Palliative Care decision and that's what we have done. She got 3 extractions and we now just do regular cleanings and are taking it as it comes.

I discovered that many seniors who have advanced dementia are not good candidates for extensive dental procedures. And that it's common for them to function quite well without teeth. I have a friend who told me that her mom, who had AD for about 15 years, ate almost anything she wanted with no teeth for several years....not steak or hard candy, but, within reason.  Due to her dementia, she could not accommodate the dentures.

If she's already eating soft foods, then, I'd ask the dentist on how to avoid dentures and implants.
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