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My Mom's dentures no longer fit well and are loose in her mouth. She has stopped eating her mechanically ground food in the nursing home for about a month now. We were kind of figuring she is just declining, but now I am wondering if she stopped eating because of her ill fitting dentures?


We would have to go thru Medicaid, but I am worried they will not be of quality in both material and fit. I've heard of other elderly folks having trouble with new dental work by Medicaid.


Anyone with personal experience regarding Medicaid dentures for their elder loved one will be appreciated.

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Of course she should see a professional. I'll fitting dentures can be a real issue with weight loss, my mom's 86, I had to do the same, then she lost them. But I financed them again. Why, because I wear top dentures and I know how good it feels to have good fitting dentures. I know they can be expensive. There are cheaper ones that work just as well. I eventually got her 350 dollar dentures but as long as they get relined and fitted, I'm sure your mom would be happy. Happy holidays
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Reply to Johnnym1964
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Can you make her soft foods or pureed foods that she does not have to chew?

Perhaps even baby food, squash ( they sell it frozen) mashed potatoes with carrots and peas swirled in a blender. A high quality protein drink can provide protein.

Also puddings or custards have milk and eggs and can provide nutrition despite the sugar.

Poorly fitting dentures can be very painful.

Alas, because of her bone loss issue new ones will not make a difference, as the honest dentist stated.

I am sorry you two are dealing with this. Humans are such fragile creatures

Sending hugs your way,
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Reply to Heather10
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Caregiverhelp11 Dec 6, 2018
Thank you
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If you feel your mom's quality of life would be seriously impacted without dentures, then by all means, look into replacement. But would she need help in caring for/keeping track of them or could she handle it alone? Here's why: My 84 yr. old mom with dementia, lost the lower dentures she's had for decades back in May this year. Thank goodness, her retirement benefits paid for most of it. The caregiver took her back 2x to have them adjusted, cause mom kept complaining they hurt. ( I'm told this is normal, kinda like breaking in new shoes). Well, mom takes her dentures out to clean them at night, BUT then "hides" them (she denies this) somewhere. She blames the devil took them. We've found them wrapped in napkins in her purse, clothing, laundry, etc. despite the CG's daily diligent efforts to hold her teeth overnite (for safe keeping). This has been happening ever since she got the new dentures! This happens at least every other week! Needless to say mom's anxiety, agitation is off the charts when this happens until the dentures are found.
Best of luck!
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Reply to naia2077
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With a 40# weight loss, new dentures may not be the solution. Bear in mind, dentures are never the same as real teeth.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I took my 90 year old mother to a private dentist because the dentures she had worn for 30 years were feeling loose and moving around when she ate. After a panoramic full mouth xray and exam, the dentist said he would be happy to make her a new set of dentures, but they would not fit any better than the old ones. The bones in her jaw had become too worn down with age to keep any type of denture or reline in place.
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Reply to Elderdog
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I read all this especially with interest because at my ahem, younger age I am dealing with a dentally "complex" situation myself.  A denture may be an option (which I am not favoring) and it is immensely depressing reading all you have written to picture myself as an older person with no advocate and suffering or put on a pureed diet or feeding tube god forbid.

Eating is so much a part of our lives, it is a chance for socialization, nutrition...life.  And having lost some chewing ability (still have some limited) I can tell you that I try  not to think about it and just go on doing as well as I can as we pursue potential options (my situation is still in flux and things are still being discussed). 

I'm sure there is a huge difference between a dentist who is private and one in the system that will do lesser quality, or use a cheap lab...and having worked for a dental lab I can tell you there are all kinds.  A dentist can charge market rates, use a cheap lab you will be clueless about, and increase profits.  That's not all...but it is feasible. 

The whole process is tedious and draining, and throw dementia or aging issues in and it just gets increasing complicated and frustrating. 

I think I'd find the best person in town and consult...but I have no real answer aside from saying I would want it to be MY choice, that I would want someone compassionate to help me with whatever that choice might be. 

Any soft diet stuff might work...I don't see eggs or pancakes on your list, small pieces of food might be manageable even if not pulverized. 

And nobody really talks about this but...I've seen so often people speak of the dentures being lost or thrown out.  SO easy to blame the patient when it is rushed staff who don't care.  I noticed one hospital had signs outside the doors of patient rooms indicating the level of fall risk.  It might be a challenge in a group dining room, but these dentures cost hundreds of dollars not to mention the cost of the time for someone to tend to the patient and the inconvenience of caregivers taking time from work to get to appointments if need be, and the hassle factor with new impressions which I personally find unbearable to endure.  So I think NH's should bear way more responsibility for their "loss."
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Harpcat Dec 4, 2018
My dad's cost $3300 and now they are just bookends!!
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Unless you have unlimited money, do not do it. They will only be lost or she won't use them or something else will go wrong. I went through this twice - will NEVER do something so foolish again.
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Reply to Riley2166
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I recently did that for my mother, she’s 87, she constantly complains about the dentures. They are ill fitting and she’s now bed ridden unable to go back and forth to the dental office. She has Medicare and paid with Care Credit for the dentures and the bill is enormous. If I had to do it over. I would not.
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Reply to Lovieleeglo
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Caregiverhelp11 Dec 4, 2018
Yes, that is what I am concerned about. Thanks for informing me of your experience.
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It's a catch 22 because when you lose weight, you dentures don't fit well anymore, when your dentures don't fit well, you don't eat well and you lose weight. I would try to have the dentures lined to achieve the best fit possible. The nursing home has a dental company who comes to them, right? Ask them if there is something they can do.
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Reply to lynina2
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My dad is 92 and a couple years ago he had to get a new lower partial plate because the old one broke. He had a really hard time getting it to fit and endured many months of pain. Now the top one broke and rather than get a new one, they managed to fix it for now but have told him that the top one is a full plate and will be even harder to get to fit. I guess for being able to eat, a new one would be necessary, but expect there to be problems. I have noticed that dad's tolerance for these kinds of things is not as good as it was when he was younger.
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Harpcat Dec 4, 2018
That’s it exactly. They just can’t tolerate changes like this.
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I have the exact same problem with the my husband and dentures. He too has lost abt 30lbs. Facility is aware and are giving him Ensure along with his meals. I know new dentures take time to get use to. You run the risk of them taking them out and losing them. This is a no win situation. I try to visit during meal time and feed him when I can, I also pickup smoothes for him to drink, sometimes it works. This I believe is the winding down process. It’s hard to watch, as caregivers we want to fix it. Somethings are out of are control
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Reply to Justginger1
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jacobsonbob Dec 4, 2018
My mother was in a nursing home a few years ago in which she had a roommate who had dementia and was also a wanderer who took things from other people. This roommate went across the hall, and took someone's dentures and discarded them!
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Don't know about Medicaid but my mom's dentist was able to make several adjustments to her dentures for a better fit.
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Reply to katiekat2009
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Just had moms relined. She’s had same pair for 70 years. Gums change as we age. She’s complaining minimally. Had a few spots shaved down afterwards. But eating better and even talking better. Our reline cost $500
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Reply to Cmthatcher
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Typically Medicaid doesn’t pay for dentures..but it can vary by state. Let me tell you based on my own personal experience. My dad lost so much weight his dentures wouldn’t stay in at times when he spoke. So I took him to a very Good dentist I knew (have worked in dentistry for 40 years) and a new set was made. My dad could not adjust to them. The new dentures fit differently than what his brain was used to, so they were uncomfortable as are most new dentures. He didn’t want to and couldn’t adapt to the change and so he ended up with an expensive set of dentures he never wore. Fast forward a year later, he was complaining as usual and so being the dutiful daughter, I made an appointment for him with a specialist who would do a permanent reline of his current dentures since he was used to them. The first thing they do is make a temporary reline and let them wear it for a week to see how it fits and works for them. Then a week later they make the permanent one with any adjustments. My dad could not comprehend what "he’d done to his dentures" after the temporary liner was in place. He was furious. His dementia wouldn’t let him grasp the situation even though I wrote it out to explain it etc. the next day he’d removed the temporary reline!!!! To say the least not only was I upset after all this but so discouraged that try as hard as I did, nothing came out of it. So he’s back to loose dentures and complaining. So the moral of the story, is NO...do not at this stage of your mom's life attempt new dentures. Sorry. We want to fix things but we also must be realistic and realize that things can’t be perfect.
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Reply to Harpcat
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Caregiverhelp11 Dec 4, 2018
Since I've given it more thought, I am thinking that it will be more of a pain for my Mom than it is worth. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Well.

If you start the ball rolling on new dentures, the worst that can happen is that the process proves too difficult for her and she doesn't end up getting them, or the new dentures aren't any better in which case no one will force her to wear them. But whatever happens, she can't be any worse off than she is now in terms of dental comfort; so I should give it a try and just see how it goes.

But I agree with CW that 40lbs really is a heck of a weight loss, and if your mother had been using her denture without trouble for her modified diet before then I'd be looking for other potential causes for her stopping eating. It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, because weight loss and lack of use will cause her gum to alter just that tiny bit, which will make her denture fit less well, which will make her not want to wear it... But if everything was fine and then she seemed to lose interest in her food, there would be other things to check too. Right down to a change of chef, possibly.

How is she apart from her appetite issues?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I would ask about putting her on an appetite stimulant.
Worked for my Mom.
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Reply to RRFeury
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A 40 lb weight loss is huge and should have triggered a care conference with the DON & dietitian and a plan to combat her weight loss. Weight loss leads to frailty, frailty leads to falls, pressure ulcers, inability to fight off infections and other complications.
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Reply to cwillie
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I can't advise about the quality or fit of Medicaid dentures but I know that getting fitted for any new dentures would be a huge pain, I think that since she was already on a modified diet you may as well go one step further to total puree, which is likely where your will end up anyway.
BTW, what has she been eating for the past month?
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Reply to cwillie
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Caregiverhelp11 Dec 1, 2018
She's been eating soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, small nutritional shakes
they provide at lunch. Not too much. She has lost about 40 lbs the past
few months.
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