Even those with dentures sometimes have abscessed root fragments.
Among those with teeth, 90% of all long-term Nursing Home residents have at least one abscess. The rest have more…sometimes 10 or more.
These abscesses have often been present for years and years and are not the result of a short period of neglect.
An abscess, even a single one that is seemingly painless, can cause (in addition to pain): osteomyelitis, cavernous sinus thrombosus, endocarditis, and Ludwig’s angina. If you were a family member, staff member, head nurse or trained physician, could you determine the origin of the following symptoms without any knowledge of the condition of the teeth?
Nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea, gum inflammation, tenderness with touch, pus, drainage, difficulty fully opening your mouth or swallowing, headache, unilateral retro-orbital pain (pain behind one eyeball), periorbital edema (swelling behind the eyes), proptosis (bulging eyes), chemosis (unexplained eye irritation), ptosis (drooping eyelids), inability to swallow, inability to speak, maxillary sinusitis, bitter taste in the mouth, bad breath odor, swollen glands of the neck, general discomfort, uneasiness, ill feeling, neck pain, neck swelling, redness of the neck, weakness, fatigue, excessive tiredness, confusion or other mental changes, difficulty breathing, earache, drooling, brain abscess, pneumonia, fatigue, aching joints and muscles, night sweats, shortness of breath, paleness, persistent cough, swelling in feet, legs or abdomen, unexplained weight loss, blood in the urine….And oh: swelling of the face, neck, tongue, and throat and any other part of the body not previously mentioned.
Anyone with sympathetic feelings towards other people finds unnecessary suffering to be appalling and unacceptable. We don’t know when elderly people will die. It’s not good enough to say: “They’re old and going to die anyway. Let them alone so they can die a natural death”. To do so is to condemn some of our greatest benefactors to a miserable comfortless death, stranded but uncared for in a sea of healing, without compassion, without even a moment of rest until they finally and cruelly pass away. We are all complicit in it and it is a terrible moral wrong.
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