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Should I take my Mum who has alzheimers & double incontinence to the dentist

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
My Mum is 88, has alzeimers & double incontinence & in a nursing home the last 4 yrs.
I have mentioned on here before that some of her bottom teeth have gone black & rotting. In the last 3/4 weeks, more of her teeth have gone black & disintegrating.
I checked them yest & 5 bottom teeth are black & disintegrating & now also the 2 eye teeth have holes in them. I asked my Mum if her teeth cause her pain when eating or all the time. She said, when eating. Because of the alzeimers, its hard to know if she is getting pain, as sometimes she will say no.

I spoke to the head nurse for advice, she said to take her to the dentist, as if they get infected it could affect her heart. I haven't been able to take her out for at least 6 months now, as her double incontinence is so bad.
I'm worried it might be traumatic for her going to the dentist. It will only be for a check up, on the 1st visit.
I've a feeling they will suggest removing the 7 bottom teeth.
Am I doing the right thing to take her to get checked out, or should I not put her through the trauma?
 

father ted

Registered User
Aug 16, 2010
698
London
In my Mum's home there is a visiting dentist, but I think they just check and then any work needed doing is done at their surgery.
Ask if the dentist would come out to make an assessment so the treatment required can be planned for.
Either way I would definitely get her to the dentist. If the teeth look that bad they more than likely do hurt her and if infected they could cause serious problems in the near future. Antibiotics may be needed too.
 

love.dad.but..

Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
4,480
Kent
I can understand the nurses concern about future infection however it really depends on how compliant you think she would be sitting still in the chair...having her mouth and teeth poked and then the traumatic possibility of have extractions which is bad enough for someone who doesn't have dementia.

Dad was very medically frightened of everything and it would have been a straight no without sedation ..some areas have visiting dentists to care homes. My sister in the Shrewbury area whos was a dentist did such visits although I don't know how or if treatment was also given or just check up.
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,891
London
There are community dentists that do house visits. It might be an idea to be referred to one of them as they know how to deal with "problem" patients including dementia. They could tell you what might need doing and you could discuss the pros and cons with them. A lot will have to do with how old your mother is, her compliance with treatment and aftercare, and whether the benefits will outweigh the risks.
 

witts1973

Registered User
Jun 20, 2018
732
Leamington Spa
My Mum is 88, has alzeimers & double incontinence & in a nursing home the last 4 yrs.
I have mentioned on here before that some of her bottom teeth have gone black & rotting. In the last 3/4 weeks, more of her teeth have gone black & disintegrating.
I checked them yest & 5 bottom teeth are black & disintegrating & now also the 2 eye teeth have holes in them. I asked my Mum if her teeth cause her pain when eating or all the time. She said, when eating. Because of the alzeimers, its hard to know if she is getting pain, as sometimes she will say no.

I spoke to the head nurse for advice, she said to take her to the dentist, as if they get infected it could affect her heart. I haven't been able to take her out for at least 6 months now, as her double incontinence is so bad.
I'm worried it might be traumatic for her going to the dentist. It will only be for a check up, on the 1st visit.
I've a feeling they will suggest removing the 7 bottom teeth.
Am I doing the right thing to take her to get checked out, or should I not put her through the trauma?
After a quick progression with dementia with my mother I was aware that dentistry was one thing I hadn't sought advice about,then I noticed a tooth had snapped,we live 200 yards from her dentist that she hadn't seen for a while and he was nice enough to pop out,mum was bed bound by this time,he gave them a quick inspection and then forwarded her details to a dental department at the local hospital that sees people that aren't able to visit their local dentist due to disabilities in a month or so the dental department at the hospital got in touch to give us an appointment and I was given a number to ring for a community ambulance to pick mum up,the ambulance people were lovely and carried my mum in her wheelchair over the threshold of our home as we didn't have a ramp and took us to the dentist for an inspection,over the next few weeks she had teeth removed,her teeth cleaned and scraped and her dentures where adapted,it was a relief that we were able to do this and get the transport to get there,so if you ask her usual dentist he will be able to refer you

She had 2 teeth that had snapped off due to becoming loose from a poorly fitting denture and there was a concern that they may have been infected but they are able to tell from an x ray if they are infected or not,they have the option to remove or if possible they can also be ground down
 
Last edited:

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
In my Mum's home there is a visiting dentist, but I think they just check and then any work needed doing is done at their surgery.
Ask if the dentist would come out to make an assessment so the treatment required can be planned for.
Either way I would definitely get her to the dentist. If the teeth look that bad they more than likely do hurt her and if infected they could cause serious problems in the near future. Antibiotics may be needed too.
Thank you Father Ted, for your advice.
I asked the head nurse in my Mum's nursing home & they don't have a visiting dentist. She said, I will have to take my Mum to a dentist. I enquired with a local dentist & they have agreed to see her next friday for a check up.
 

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
In my Mum's home there is a visiting dentist, but I think they just check and then any work needed doing is done at their surgery.
Ask if the dentist would come out to make an assessment so the treatment required can be planned for.
Either way I would definitely get her to the dentist. If the teeth look that bad they more than likely do hurt her and if infected they could cause serious problems in the near future. Antibiotics may be needed too.
I can understand the nurses concern about future infection however it really depends on how compliant you think she would be sitting still in the chair...having her mouth and teeth poked and then the traumatic possibility of have extractions which is bad enough for someone who doesn't have dementia.

Dad was very medically frightened of everything and it would have been a straight no without sedation ..some areas have visiting dentists to care homes. My sister in the Shrewbury area whos was a dentist did such visits although I don't know how or if treatment was also given or just check up.
I can understand the nurses concern about future infection however it really depends on how compliant you think she would be sitting still in the chair...having her mouth and teeth poked and then the traumatic possibility of have extractions which is bad enough for someone who doesn't have dementia.

Dad was very medically frightened of everything and it would have been a straight no without sedation ..some areas have visiting dentists to care homes. My sister in the Shrewbury area whos was a dentist did such visits although I don't know how or if treatment was also given or just check up.
 

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
Thank you for your reply, love dad.
As I have said to Father Ted, my Mum's nursing home doesn't have a visiting dentist. I rang a local dentist for advice & the receptionist was very helpful. She suggested taking my Mum to the dentist for a check up & that she would make it for 2 o clock, so that we won't be waiting long, Also said, if when the day arrives & I think my Mum wouldn't be up for it, that it's not a problem to cancel app. I do hope we are able to keep the appointment, as now, 6 of her bottom teeth are either black or holes in them.
 

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
There are community dentists that do house visits. It might be an idea to be referred to one of them as they know how to deal with "problem" patients including dementia. They could tell you what might need doing and you could discuss the pros and cons with them. A lot will have to do with how old your mother is, her compliance with treatment and aftercare, and whether the benefits will outweigh the risks.

Thank you for your advice, Beate.
We don't have community dentists here. I have been advised of a local dentist, who treats people who have alzheimers. It's only 5 mins drive, so I can take my Mum there & hope the appointment goes ok. The receptionist was very helpful on the phone & said I can cancel or change for another day, if I need to.
 

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
After a quick progression with dementia with my mother I was aware that dentistry was one thing I hadn't sought advice about,then I noticed a tooth had snapped,we live 200 yards from her dentist that she hadn't seen for a while and he was nice enough to pop out,mum was bed bound by this time,he gave them a quick inspection and then forwarded her details to a dental department at the local hospital that sees people that aren't able to visit their local dentist due to disabilities in a month or so the dental department at the hospital got in touch to give us an appointment and I was given a number to ring for a community ambulance to pick mum up,the ambulance people were lovely and carried my mum in her wheelchair over the threshold of our home as we didn't have a ramp and took us to the dentist for an inspection,over the next few weeks she had teeth removed,her teeth cleaned and scraped and her dentures where adapted,it was a relief that we were able to do this and get the transport to get there,so if you ask her usual dentist he will be able to refer you

She had 2 teeth that had snapped off due to becoming loose from a poorly fitting denture and there was a concern that they may have been infected but they are able to tell from an x ray if they are infected or not,they have the option to remove or if possible they can also be ground down
Thank you for your reply, Witts.
That was very handy your Mum had a dentist nearby. It sounds like a great service, where your mum was picked up in an ambulance to get her treatment. We live in southern Ireland & don't have facilities like yours. I expect people living in the Dublin area, would be able to avail of that kind of service. But we are in the country area, so you have to travel to dentists etc.
I have an appointment for my Mum next friday afternoon in a local dentist. How did your Mum respond to her teeth being removed & the other treatment?
My Mum has been double incontinent for several months now. Lately, it is very hard to get her cleaned up in the nursing home.
2 carers clean her up & are very good with her & even if she complains, they are able to deal with it in a nice way. My worry is, if she has an accident in the dentist & I'll need to clean her up. I will just need to go armed with spare underwear, pads & wipes & hope she'll be ok.
 

Hazara8

Registered User
Apr 6, 2015
416
My Mum is 88, has alzeimers & double incontinence & in a nursing home the last 4 yrs.
I have mentioned on here before that some of her bottom teeth have gone black & rotting. In the last 3/4 weeks, more of her teeth have gone black & disintegrating.
I checked them yest & 5 bottom teeth are black & disintegrating & now also the 2 eye teeth have holes in them. I asked my Mum if her teeth cause her pain when eating or all the time. She said, when eating. Because of the alzeimers, its hard to know if she is getting pain, as sometimes she will say no.

I spoke to the head nurse for advice, she said to take her to the dentist, as if they get infected it could affect her heart. I haven't been able to take her out for at least 6 months now, as her double incontinence is so bad.
I'm worried it might be traumatic for her going to the dentist. It will only be for a check up, on the 1st visit.
I've a feeling they will suggest removing the 7 bottom teeth.
Am I doing the right thing to take her to get checked out, or should I not put her through the trauma?

Those two rather simplistic words 'best interests' come to mind. Teeth are important and any potential infection needs addressing. Otherwise, as with my late mother and the chiropodist, the actual process of tending to them became problematical and she was distressed. So I stopped that as she was no longer walking and thus it was not imperative. But teeth are different. At the end of the day, as long as people (dentists , doctors, etc) are fully informed and aware of the dementia, that can help when it comes to the appointment. They in turn, should advise on what is needed or otherwise. And you are of course quite right to think
about not putting your mother through any trauma. The balance is sometimes quite difficult to achieve, but again, 'best interests' usually provides an answer.
 

Mother goose

Registered User
Jul 5, 2012
257
Co.Sligo, Ireland
Those two rather simplistic words 'best interests' come to mind. Teeth are important and any potential infection needs addressing. Otherwise, as with my late mother and the chiropodist, the actual process of tending to them became problematical and she was distressed. So I stopped that as she was no longer walking and thus it was not imperative. But teeth are different. At the end of the day, as long as people (dentists , doctors, etc) are fully informed and aware of the dementia, that can help when it comes to the appointment. They in turn, should advise on what is needed or otherwise. And you are of course quite right to think
about not putting your mother through any trauma. The balance is sometimes quite difficult to achieve, but again, 'best interests' usually provides an answer.
Thank you for your reply, Hazara.
Sorry to hear your late mother was distressed going to the chiropodist, that must have been upsetting for you.
I've discovered that the dentist I am taking my Mum to, see other residents from her nursing home, who also have alzeimers.
So I feel reassured, that she will be in capable hands.
 

Hazara8

Registered User
Apr 6, 2015
416
Thank you for your reply, Hazara.
Sorry to hear your late mother was distressed going to the chiropodist, that must have been upsetting for you.
I've discovered that the dentist I am taking my Mum to, see other residents from her nursing home, who also have alzeimers.
So I feel reassured, that she will be in capable hands.
I am delighted to hear that. As sometimes there is a lack of understanding in respect of dementia, which can be a problem. I trust all goes very well for your mother. In my own mother's case, she was in her 90's and things like water (washing hair etc) became like an affliction, i.e. perception changed. Even touching her toes in the latter stages of her Alzheimer's could bring about alarming reactions. This abated towards the end stage period. Such is dementia.

Good wishes
 

witts1973

Registered User
Jun 20, 2018
732
Leamington Spa
Thank you for your reply, Witts.
That was very handy your Mum had a dentist nearby. It sounds like a great service, where your mum was picked up in an ambulance to get her treatment. We live in southern Ireland & don't have facilities like yours. I expect people living in the Dublin area, would be able to avail of that kind of service. But we are in the country area, so you have to travel to dentists etc.
I have an appointment for my Mum next friday afternoon in a local dentist. How did your Mum respond to her teeth being removed & the other treatment?
My Mum has been double incontinent for several months now. Lately, it is very hard to get her cleaned up in the nursing home.
2 carers clean her up & are very good with her & even if she complains, they are able to deal with it in a nice way. My worry is, if she has an accident in the dentist & I'll need to clean her up. I will just need to go armed with spare underwear, pads & wipes & hope she'll be ok.
Hi my mum was fine to be honest,I'm a worrier and she wasn't bothered at all even with the jabs to numb thing,you will be fine if your mum has a decent pad to wear,I suppose you could get larger pad just for those occasions that contain matter better rather than the slip in type my mum has an abri sans L1 that is velcro fastened and does a good job,good luck anyway x
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
I hope all goes well with the appointment and it's reassuring to hear this dentist has experience with other patients with dementia.

My mother is intermittently incontinent and now always wears pull-ups. When we take her to appointments outside the care home, I always have a bag packed and with me. I take snacks and water for her, a book for her to "read" (she can't read anymore but was a great reader and holding a book seems to give her comfort and sometimes, something to focus on), and incontinence supplies. I have a couple of extra pull-ups, plastic bags for disposal and/or soiled clothing, gloves, wipes, hand sanitizer, and a complete change of clothing, including shoes and socks. I have never needed to use it, other than the water and biscuits and chocolate, but just in case. This was on the advise of a nurse who gave a dementia workshop I attended, and maybe someone here on TP as well. Oh, and as my mother is always cold, I take an extra jumper or layer for her, and in winter I have a blanket also, for the car and the doctor's office. That one I learnt the hard way!

I hope all goes as well as possible and best wishes.