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My mom is 93 with dementia, She has had the same dentures for years with no issues. I keep them brushed and cleaned frequently. Recently she has started to complain of discomfort with the gums on the bottom dentures. I am cleaning the dentures and brushing them frequently. I also have applied OraGel and warm salt water to the gum area. Should I take her to a dentist to perhaps get the dentures adjusted? At this stage, I do not believe she could adapt to new dentures. That may be too disruptive for her. Has anyone faced this type of issue? Any advice? I know how important good oral hygiene is. Thanks

I have worked in dentistry for over 30 years, a set of dentures do not last forever because the gum/bone changes over time and even weight changes can affect the fit. She may only need a simple adjustment or they could do what is called a reline. A soft reline can be done same day or a hard reline would require 2 visits (possible additional visits for adjustments). A reline adds material to the denture to help them fit better. In my opinion I don't think a new denture at this point would be a good idea but find a good dentist who works with elderly patients. Some facilities even have dentists that come to them. Good hygiene, even with dentures, is so important so I'm very happy to hear you cleaning them. You are obviously very caring and compassionate. I hope you can get her comfortable soon.
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Reply to Bren11
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The main question is...
Would she be compliant at the dentist office?
Could she sit for an extended time in the dental chair?
If you have to give her meds to get her to comply do know that she will be more prone to falls until the drug(s) wear off.
IF she has to have any work done with anesthesia this is risky. Dementia and anesthesia do not "play well together" and she may well have a decline in cognition for quite some time if she even recovers her baseline.
How is her eating now? Is she eating pureed food or a regular diet? If she is eating pureed or finely minced food there may be no reason to even continue to wear the dentures.
You can continue the oral hygiene without the dentures.
You can check her mouth and try to determine if there are any red or inflamed areas
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Msblcb Aug 6, 2022
She does have only soft or puréed foods. She is a vegetarian so only eats soft veggies. I ended up buying Orajel and rubbing it on her gums. After a week she seems to be fine. I wander if some food particles worked their way under the denture and caused discomfort. For now, this crisis seems to be over. I never know what I am going to find when I visit. Thank you for you helpful comments.
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Pain is an indication of a problem. Get her to the dentist.
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Reply to Taarna
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Other than seeing a
dentist. Just don’t wear them or only to eat.
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Reply to Sample
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My mom is facing a tooth extraction and she is upset and furious.
BUT--

Her gums have shrunk a great deal (she's 92 with a mouthful of crowns and veneers) and this one molar in the back simply has nothing to hang on to anymore.

She begged for an implant, 2 dentists turned her down, flat, saying she likely would never heal enough from the implant procedure for a new tooth to ever 'seat' properly. So, extracting this tooth is the best 'awful' choice. I do feel badly for her, but it's a molar in the back, it won't be noticed when she smiles or anything.

Sadly, this is just one more indignity of growing older. (although I a shocked by how many people I know my age who wear dentures! (i'm 66 and one friend has had dentures since her late 50's. This was due to complete lack of oral hygeiene--so let's remember to care for OUR teeth and that our LO's are caring for theirs!)
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Reply to Midkid58
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Of course you should take her to e dentist!
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Reply to DrLokvig
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Msblcb: Perhaps she should be seen by her dentist to see what he/she can offer in the way of a refit or new dentures.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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So my mom lost weight and her dentures were rubbing against her gums. She liked her dentures so I took her to the dentist and he sent them out to be adjusted. It took 2 days instead of getting new ones they take at least 5 weeks and then you need to get use to them. Also, I don’t think you are supposed to use a brush on the dentures. The dentist told us only polident type of cleaner. Hope this helps!
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Bren11 Aug 6, 2022
You absolutely should brush dentures, especially after meals, and soak dentures in a denture bath with denture tablets at night. There are denture brushes shaped to get into the books and crannies of dentures. Food debris and bacteria are on dentures the same as on natural teeth. Denture brushes are stiffer, dentures can handle it. But those of us with natural teeth should ALWAYS use a soft bristle toothbrush. And floss. I've been working in the dental field for over 30 years and it makes me happy to see so many people helping their loved ones care for their oral health. I hope I have been of some help.
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As my mother's dementia advanced, she found everything that touched her skin uncomfortable. She stopped wearing her glasses, and eventually she stopped accepting dental hygiene. At that point she was in her mid to late 90s and on soft foods, so it didn't matter much if her teeth deteriorated. I stopped making dental appointments for her after a bad experience extracting a tooth. At that point she was not understanding why she was there.
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Sometimes changing her diet and removing the bottom dentures help. It always seems to be the bottom denture. My Grandmother stopped using dentures early in her life. Her gums toughened up some. She ate mostly regular food we just had to cut it up smaller. Good luck.
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Reply to DianaGearhart
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I don't know if this will help but when my teeth or gums hurt I take 1000mgs of Vit C this helps a lot takes the pain away.

BIL had the same problem with his dentures and still does they hurt but we were told that he doesn't have the rigs on the gums to hold the teeth in anymore. His gums are smooth. We had them re-aligned but he couldn't understand how to make sure they fit when they were fitting them because he has dementia and his short term memory is gone.

Prayers.
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Reply to Babs2013
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Your mother could very well have lost or gained enough weight that dentures no longer fit well. An accommodating dentist can make adjustments for comfort that will suffice as you say, "at this stage." My husband had similar denture problems and was terminally ill and on Hospice, so we did not want to start with new dentures. Adjustments were made for comfort and that worked well.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Her gum line has probably shrunk over the years which can create a rubbing problem when chewing. The rub causes discomfort. It wouldn't hurt to take her to the dentist. Very possible he can do impression again and fix what she has. He might also be able to just remove them and look at the area that hurts.
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Reply to my2cents
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I am a dental hygienist with 35 years of experience. As others have said, the gums and bone, especially of the lower jaw, shrink down with time. The denture doesn’t change, so after awhile it doesn’t fit quite right and can rub in areas. It is likely that the denture may only need an adjustment (minor filing down in specific areas) to alleviate the problem. A middle ground remedy that might be recommended is a reline of the denture. I would try either or both of those alternatives before making a new denture. Because you are correct when you say it would be difficult to adjust to a new one. Seems like it would be the same as the old, but they never are. And people are used to what they are used to. Besides it takes many appointments to get one made. Maybe your mom is up for that, maybe not. Also, def avoid the implant scenario. Not going to be helpful at this stage of her life and with her condition. Not to mention the cost.
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Reply to Patrice2
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CaringSharShar Aug 4, 2022
Patrice2-
Any pros and cons you have regarding implants would be helpful.
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What sort of discomfort? A sore spot or side, or general discomfort, or what?

Examine the gums with a bright light (ask her to close her eyes, or hold a flannel over them). See if there's anything to see. If you're not happy with the colour or you do notice anything odd, report it - doctor or dentist, either will do.
Examine the lower denture really carefully, see if you can feel any roughness or spot any issues there.
If it's general discomfort, you'd better get someone qualified to check her out in case there's an infection of some sort - gingivitis, thrush, anything like that. You can be rigorous about oral hygiene and still be unlucky, especially if she's taking certain medications.

In any case, though, I wouldn't ignore it. Better to waste a professional's time on something-of-nothing than to miss something important.
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Frebrowser Aug 5, 2022
My Mom was on a medication that warned us to watch out for thrush. She followed the instructions to use the recommended mouthwash, but when she suddenly didn’t want to wear her dentures, she did have thrush.

I believe the medication was one of the puffers for COPD.
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As my mom began to lose weight, her dentures became loose. Finally, at one point it was too difficult to get them in without pain, so she no longer wears them. This means everything is puréed/liquified as much as possible. She’s gotten used to eating this way, but it takes a lot of time to purée her meals.
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Reply to LoveLea
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Agreed that the gums may be shrinking. Please don’t consider dental implants. A friend’s father at age 88 with Alzheimer’s had a similar problem and wanted implants, so she arranged it and he suffered much pain getting it done and afterward. He may have lived about a year like that and then died. She spent $30,000 for the implants which she now says was a really bad idea considering that they didn’t enhance the quality of life and actually made it worse. Too old is sometimes just too old.
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Reply to Fawnby
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See what the dentist can do, if nothing as said, then she will just need to be fitted for a new one.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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The gums in the mouth shrink; with that shrinkage comes discomfort from the denture b/c it's no longer fitting properly (it's too big). This is why new dentures need to be made approximately once every 5 years or so and the mouth has to be remeasured/molded for a new fit. I don't think the dentist can 'readjust' ill fitting dentures if they are 5 years old and hurting her b/c of mouth shrinkage. You can give it a try, of course. And if she has a dentist who uses an on site lab, he can fit her for a new lower denture w/o too much fuss b/c the new one can be adjusted on the spot.

The other alternative is to leave her without a lower denture and see how she does. Whether she can eat without it. If so, you're all set. If not, take her into the dentist and see about a new lower; it's not as big a deal as you think. The big deal is adjusting to a new denture when the teeth are first pulled out. Not when a new one needs to be made.

GOOD LUCK!
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Msblcb Jul 30, 2022
Thank you!
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