Healing and Dealing with Dental Phobias

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Do Elderly People Need a Spare Set of Dentures?

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If you have an elderly denture wearer in your family, you may be wondering if they need a spare set of dentures. As people get older, they may be more prone to damaging or losing their dentures. If this happens to your relative or to a friend you help care for, you may worry about how they would cope without dentures while they are waiting for a repair or a new set. Not having any teeth to wear may embarrass them, and they may also find it harder to eat. When is it a good idea to recommend a spare pair of dentures for an older person?

Motor Control Issues

As people become older, they often naturally lose some motor control skills, finding it harder to keep a grip on things they handle. People with medical conditions that affect their hands such as arthritis or rheumatism may also find that they can't hold on to things as adeptly and securely as they once did.

This may pose a problem for denture wearers when they are cleaning their teeth. While strong, dentures are also breakable. If you drop a set of dentures into a sink or on to the floor with enough force, the teeth may fracture or even crack apart. If you think that this could be an issue, recommending a spare set is probably a good idea.

Memory Issues

People often also have more memory issues as they get older. For many elderly people this simply means that they occasionally forget where they put things or put them in unusual places. This is more of an issue for people with dementia problems who may also remove their teeth at odd times. For example, people might stuff their dentures in their handbags, down the sides of sofas or in their pockets. The problem is, they often then can't remember where they put their teeth.

If you notice that your denture wearer is getting more forgetful and has had a couple of issues with lost teeth, it may be worth recommending a spare set. If this happens a lot, you may want to take charge of the spare set, so you know exactly where it is when it's needed.

While you can ask a dentist to make a spare set of dentures based on an existing pair, it's sometimes worth getting a new set instead and using the old set as spares. Some older people have been wearing the same set of dentures for years. The physical changes of ageing and the natural changes that happen in the jaw when you swap natural teeth for dentures may prevent these dentures from fitting correctly. If this is the case, your relative or friend may be more comfortable if they have a new set of dentures made to fit the current size and shape of their mouth, keeping the old set for emergency use.