Sudden weight loss and dentures no longer fit a bed ridden parent. What to do?

Follow
Share

My father got full dentures last year before he completely became an invalid. Since then he’s lost a lot of weight, apparently his mouth shrunk too. Aside from the cost of getting a new set, how does one deal with the fact that being fitted for new ones would be an extremely difficult task since the patient is bed ridden and goes in and out of being lucid enough to communicate needs. It feels cruel to take away his dentures and resort to mushy food, but I can’t imagine getting my dad to a dentist in his condition. I guess this is more of a venting then a question. I was completely unaware that a person’s mouth could shrink with severe weight loss and wanted to share that tidbit with other caregivers who have loved ones with dentures.

13

Answers

Show:
Does he typically eat foods which require teeth? How is his appetite? He may like nutritional drinks because they are sweet. Will he notice if you give him softer foods? You don't need teeth for eggs, cottage cheese, soft fruits, tuna salad, Mac and cheese, etc. I would not go with the trauma of new dentures. If he loses more weight, then what? Just because you cont like mushy foods doesn't mean he won't
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Reno55
Report
Alzh101 Sep 15, 2018
Thank you for your comments. We are working with the facility and hospice people because my dad can hardly even swallow at this point. Sweet drinks aren’t an option because of his diabetes. I know they make Glucerna. Unfortunately my dad has zero appetite and any food including soup broth is a struggle to get down him as well due to poor motor skills with his jaw/ mouth.
(0)
Report
There is a choice between a "normal" diet and a "pureed" diet.  Here in Canada we call it  a "minced" diet.  As the name would suggest, the food is minced (looks like ground beef etc.) and each type of food -- meat, vegetables, starch etc. is placed separately on the plate.  My husband's lower denture went "missing" shortly after he was admitted to LTC and the minced diet was seen as a compromise.  He appears to enjoy his food and does not seem to mind that he can no longer tuck into a steak!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Cathberry
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you for your input.
(0)
Report
The NH gave me a name of a denturist who would come to the home to see mom - he was great with mom - a small extra fee but well worth it particularly as she is in a wheelchair - he would come late afternoon on way home - he did not need to sedate her & got impression with a special quick setting stuff - took 2 tries however

Some dentures can be relined to fit better - check around by walking through the yellow pages
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to moecam
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you. He’s making do with his dentures but doesn’t eat well due to weak muscles in his mouth. Swallowing even liquids is difficult. I guess dentures are the least of our concerns at this stage.
(0)
Report
Try this: http://www.cosmeticdentistrygrants.org/CosmeticDentistryGrants/
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to SandyB66
Report

Is he still eating solid foods?
By the time my Husband was pretty much bed bound he was only eating pureed foods.
Is he living with you now? If so (and I take this idea from what my Dad did for my Grandma) puree each food separately and put it on a plate just as you would serve the meal. So he can taste the roast beef, the green beans the mashed potatoes.
If he is in a facility they will puree the food and it will all be together. Yeah, sounds sort of disgusting but when you are serving that number of people there are few options.

You are correct that trying to get him to a dentist would not be the best. And there are dentists that do make visits to homes and facilities. But to get a good impression your Dad would most likely have to be sedated and that in itself presents problems.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you for the information.
(0)
Report
The social worker at the facility may be able to help as they’ve most likely experienced this in the past. Is your father in hospice care. If he is, they will also be of help. Many facilities utilize hospice. If none of these options work, call your local dental association.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Susanonlyone
Report

Maybe the dentist who made the dentures would make a visit to take impressions with the current dentures and send them for a reline at the lab or in office. I know my late husband would occasionally make house calls for invalids and such but he was a jewel of a man and not the norm. At the rate of decline choking hazards increase so pureed food might be your best option.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ksordh
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you. Unfortunately my dad lives in a different then the dentist who made the dentures.
(0)
Report
Oh yes this happens! My dad lost 40 lbs. and the same thing happened to him. Since you can’t get him to a dentist for a reline, which would work, have you tried any of the denture adhesives? Poly Grip extra strength would work. Be sure you follow directions exactly and don’t use too much. Also, it needs to be cleaned off daily, soak the dentures at night and use a warm wet cloth to clean any remaining adhesive off of his gums and palate.
He had new dentures made which dad refused to wear. Then we had them relined with a temporary liner first before they do the permanent. Made them fit like a charm....but dad ripped the liner out. Dementia makes adapting to change difficult. So dad wears the looose dentures and won’t use an adhesive either. So I gave up.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Harpcat
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Yes, people with dementia have a difficult time with change so we are just leaving him as he wishes which is to put in his loose teeth. Thank you,
(0)
Report
Although my mom has most of her teeth still, it takes forever to feed her. I give my mom supplemental nutrition drinks like Ensure, and baked beans. Beans are high in fiber and can be easily chewed. Since she has end-stage Alzheimer's she does not mind having the same diet everyday and frankly it's the only thing she will eat. Beans are very soft and even without teeth they can be easily chewed. They are high in protein. The shakes provide the rest of the nutritional needs. Her labs are all good. IF your dad is wearing false teeth, make certain they are being cleaned including oral hygiene. Accumulated *bacteria* in the mouth from food can cause pneumonia. It also would be better if you feed your parent. Not that they are not hungry, they simply FORGET how to eat. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to feed my mom including getting her teeth brushed. I feed her very very slowly so she will not aspirate. So I spend 3 hours a day for feeding and oral care alone. Keep in mind a nursing home is not going to spend that kind of time on a single patient.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to cetude
Report
Alzh101 Sep 14, 2018
Since my dad is in a facility, he is watched by the caretakers there. They try and get him to eat anything at this point but I believe his body is just shutting down at this time. The hospice people are preparing all of us for the end of his “ journey”.
(0)
Report
Thanks you all! Yes, he has several dementias and now lives in a facility. Yes, we’ve used adhesives. Yes he can feed himself on some days, but other days he just can’t eat or doesn’t want to or goes into being unable to use his hands to coordinate getting food into his mouth. He’s had purée food too. He insists on having his teeth in, so we let him. My post was more of a FYI to others because as I mentioned, it was a shock to me that once you got them, that your mouth could shrink.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Alzh101
Report

Related
Questions