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We were told that she need $12,000 worth of dental work done or she will loose her teeth. He teeth are in terrible shape and literally are rotting. She has told me she wants to keep her real teeth. She does not have the money to make this investment and the teeth are falling apart monthly. Of course the dentist tells us to put it on a credit card. She is on medicare/medicaid and has limited credit availalbe. II feel the best option (at least for her uppers) is to get dentures on the top. Far less money and no more continued dental expense on those. She is afraid of the extractions and keeps telling me she wants to keep her real teeth. This is just not an option...physically and financially. I feel terrible but I have worried myself sick on this topic. Any suggestions.

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Parvo10, this is a link to the British and International Dental Health Foundation and its section on dental care for older people. I hope it might be helpful as a means to getting your wife to talk to you about what she'd like to do? And it might be a head start in knowing what's possible just in case the dentist tells you that only the most expensive choices are.

www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/older-people

I think you're right to be cautious about how well your wife might adapt to a new denture. My mother's dentist talked us out of replacing hers (at some cost to himself, to his credit) because he didn't think any small improvement in the fit would compensate for the discomfort and trouble she'd have with a new one. Getting unbiased advice in a wholly commercial market is always going to be difficult, though. Gather several opinions before you decide?
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This issue is now very current for myself and my wife. I have worn dentures for over 50 years now. I have had very little trouble. My wife still has her own teeth, but also a partial which never worked very well, even a second one was less than comfortable for her. She no longer uses it. I am concerned that my happy experience with dentures does not necessarily translate to some one in her late eighties. I am also hesitant to get advice from the professional community as I believe their bias is towards implants, partials, all at cost we cannot afford. Any unbiased, but knowledgeable advice out there??
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Even if I myself had $12,000 I sure wouldn't spend it on my teeth. I'd get knocked out and have every single rotten tooth pulled out. I'm WAY too cheap to spend that kind of money for something like that just to say I still have my 'real teeth' forget that.
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thanks Lilliput. That is how I feel. Even if she had the $12,000 (which she does not have 1/10 of that, there is no guarantee that in 5 years or farther down the road that we won't be faced with MORE dental work. They basically are having to do a root canal and crowns for 6 teeth on the top which comes to the total of $8000 and the estimate for the bottom teeth are another 3-4000.00. She would not even have phase one paid off in 3+ years to even start the second phase of the work needed and by then her teeth could fall out. I am just sick over it all. I now see why so many elders are missing teeth etc... because when you have a fixed income and living off medicare you dont have $$ for any other essentails. I am surprised that Medicare does not evern at least include a yearly cleaning or anything. Thanks for your response.
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Just went through this last Dec. and, yes, it is draining. Mom has most of her front teeth. But because she was using these to chew, they were becoming brittle. It took awhile, but her dentist and her prosthodontist (the person who makes partials) finally convinced her that she needed to do something soon or lose all of them. The doctors told her that as long as she had a few viable teeth for the partials to hold onto, that she could regain her ability to chew again and save the rest of her natural teeth. They explained to us that partials would give her a better result for chewing and stay in place better. Also, they "clip" in place so she does not have to use denture adhesives. If she loses another tooth they can replace it with a new one on her partial plate.
If your Mom really does need dentures (has she seen a prosthodontist?) then it is probably best to do it sooner than later. Infections can happen so quickly.
You mentioned $12,000. dollars worth of work...what are they planning on doing? It is amazing how expensive anything dental is anymore. Mom's root canals were $800./ea and crowns were $800. each. Also, I would not recommend implants for senior patients.
Partials ended up being the best solution and the most affordable option for Mom. I had the opposite problem with my Mom. She wanted her doc to just "pull out" her teeth and have dentures installed. He just smiled and kept reminding her how dentures were a "last resort" and would not be as effective as other treatments.
Good luck. Sometimes you just have to wear your "advocate" hat and make the best choices for her. I would hate to see her spend all that money on repairing teeth that may not last anyway.
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If you live near a university with a teaching dental school, the students will do dental work for a fraction of the cost. My dad used them for years but now his teeth are falling out. He is scheduled to have the rest extracted as soon as some other health issues are taken care of.
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