Caring for an elderly loved one who has dentures

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HELPING ELDERLY LOVED ONES WITH DENTURES

If you know a loved one needs dentures, you’ll want to offer your support, especially if they are elderly. One of the best ways to do that is to understand how dentures work, how they’re fitted and how you can help your loved ones to adjust. We’ve put together some hints and tips on how you can help.

Go with them on appointments 
Everyone reacts differently to a dental trip. If you can be with your loved one during a dental consultation, they may appreciate it. You can offer your support, be a second pair of ears to digest the information being told and help make decisions about the type of denture being fitted.

Be sure to listen, feel free to ask 
If you or your loved one are unsure of anything, don’t be afraid to ask for more information. Beyond the practical aspects of removing teeth and replacing them with dentures, there are also aesthetics to consider. Your friend or relative may want a second opinion on things like colour and shape.

Try to be there on fitting day 
When it comes to the day of the fitting itself, your loved one may find that the best comfort of all is the simplest: that you are there with them throughout the procedure. Never underestimate the power of a friendly face and a reassuring smile.

After the appointment 
Staying with your loved one while they get used to having dentures could make a big difference as they adapt to the changes. The day after the fitting, dentures should be gently removed, and the mouth rinsed with saltwater. You can help by dissolving a level teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water. Try to do this after every meal, but no more than four times a day.

Encourage a new cleaning routine 
Now is a good time to help your loved one establish a daily cleaning regime with specialised denture care products like Polident. This means that even when you can’t be with them, they’ll know what to do to keep their dentures in good shape.

Getting used to dentures 
Getting used to dentures can take time. Speaking and eating are both likely to be affected at first. Choosing soft foods in the first week is a good idea. To help your loved one get used to wearing dentures, encourage them to keep them in all day for at least the first week. Be sure to remove them after meals and at night. Using a denture adhesive can help to prevent food becoming trapped, as well as add that extra bit of comfort while eating and speaking.

Keep a watch 
Over time, dentures may become loose. This is simply due to the jawbone contracting because it’s no longer being stimulated by the action of their natural teeth. A realignment may be required. Be sure to ask your loved one about how their dentures are fitting and speak to a dentist if they need adjusting.

Check in at every stage 
It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your loved ones about the whole process. Do they understand the procedure and how it works? Do they know what to expect afterwards? Are they clear on the new oral health routine they’ll need to adopt? Being prepared in these areas means you’ll be able to plan ahead and offer the support they need as they adapt to their dentures.