Your Smile Dental Care blog

Lost Dentures

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We’d like to discuss a problem today with the hopes of raising some awareness, and to perhaps, offer some useful strategies to our audience.

When Dentures Are Lost…

We had a call to our office from a person inquiring about lost dentures. It seems that her elderly mother-in-law had “lost” her dentures during a brief hospital visit. They were herHidden Smile - Copy only pair of dentures and they were frustrated that they received very little assistance or sympathy from the hospital staff.

They turned to us for replacement dentures and advice on how any future loss can be avoided.

The loss of personal items during a hospital experience or while saying at a long-term care facility is indeed a frustrating issue for everyone. In the case of dentures, patients lose their ability to eat effectively, which in turn, restricts their diet, compromises their nutrition and eventually complicates other medical conditions. Repeated losses can become very costly.

Who’s Responsible

Medical facilities are often big, busy places usually employing many staff members concentrating on your well-being while trying to keep you and your belongings together – a challenging task. Losing items can have a huge impact on a patient’s safety, comfort and their ability to communicate effectively.grannys-teeth-92521-m

Most healthcare centres have loss prevention protocols in place to help reduce the likelihood of missing items, but unfortunately, most do not accept responsibility for a patient’s personal belongings. To ensure a comfortable stay there are certain assistive items like hearing aids, dentures, and eyewear that are essential to a patient.

A number of our other patients who work in a variety of healthcare facilities tell us that keeping track of personal items can become difficult especially if the patient is being moved between different care areas within the building during their stay. If big items like wheelchair and prosthetic limbs can be lost it is understandable why so many smaller things go missing.

Another issue, unfortunately, is “theft.” This seems to be the issue in long-term and retirement homes. There is more freedom of movement among the residents and dementia-related incidences are common. We are told that there are residents who are just as likely to “hide” their own items as there are those who like to “collect” another’s belongings.

In this day of GPS locators and associated Apps you would think that a simple solution would have already been designed – something embedded or affixed to important items that would make it easier to track and locate them. We’ve scoured the internet and called around to a number of dental laboratories, and,  although there are a few such technologies in the works, nothing really simple and practical is available yet. Until then, here’s a few preventative/ follow-up measures:

Responding to the Problem…

1. It would be wise to make an inventory list of your belongings at the beginning of your stay. Consider keeping receipts and taking a picture of all personal belongings as a record in case of loss.

2. Monitor your items closely especially when your room is being cleaned or you are taken to another area or room. Visiting family members should also take an inventory of yourquestion-mark-1000269-m belongings frequently. The sooner an item is noticed missing and reported the higher the incident of return.

3. For storage and protection use a container for each of your items or consider using a larger case with compartments for each item. Label the container and include your full name, address and telephone numbers. Providing an email and alternative telephone number may also help the efforts of the person trying to locate you.

4. To avoid accidental disposal or damage, never wrap your items in tissue paper or napkins or leave them on your meal tray where they could be taken away.

5. Ask questions beforehand. What is the facility’s policy regarding the care of patient’s personal items? Who do you contact in the event of loss or disputes? Do the healthcare workers and maintenance staff take the necessary care when changing the bedding, emptying the garbage, or taking away meal trays?

6. Ask your dentist about the possibility of having a permanent label placed or engraved into the acrylic material of the denture.

7. Some facilities use handheld and mounted detectors much like the alarm systems that is activated if a person leaves a store with an item that has not been scanned. They can locate lost items that have been misplaced or are moved outside of their designated areas by reading the radio frequency tags that are placed onto personal items. An example of a company that provides this technology is Scandent. Here’s a patent we found Locator for Lost Dentures.

8. In many cases, dental implants take the place of dentures or can safely secure loose or ill-fitting ones. If you would like more information or would like to find out if you or your loved one is a candidate for dental implants call us today at (905) 5SMILES. For more information read our article Are Implants Right for Me?

It can be frustrating and exhausting…

How many countless hours are spent by families and healthcare staff looking for lost belongings, trying to resolve any disputes over the matter and establishing better prevention strategies? Many times, particularly with the elderly, a person may be unable to care for themselves let alone their belongings. Their family must be vigilant in their efforts to ensure that not only is their loved one being taken care of properly and their medical issues dealt with, but that their personal belongings are also being kept safe and secure.

If you have a solution or know of one in the works, we’d love to hear from you – or drop us a line below with your denture loss story! Together, we might be able to help others with this growing problem.

Yours in Better Health,

The Your Smile Dental Care Team

Author: Your Smile Dental Care blog

Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates Family, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry 2 Convenient Locations to serve you and your family Oshawa & Toronto (905) 576-4537 905 5SMILES

18 thoughts on “Lost Dentures

  1. My grandpa lost his dentures a couple of weeks ago. We has been really frustrated about it because they are so valuable to his everyday life. I am not sure if people really understand how much those with dentures depend on having them. We are going to the dentist today to get new ones. I really like the idea presented in this article about monitoring your items closely. That is always really important to not lose your belongings. We might use a chart to mark when he takes his dentures in and out and which room he was in when he removed or replaced his dentures. Thanks for the great ideas.

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    • Our patients tell us that ensuring that the “Resident” Staff know that you are monitoring your loved one’s items closely will likely help to establish a greater commitment from them as well. There seems to be increasing technology in the locator device industry. Hopefully, a enterprising individual will solve this problem soon! Be well.

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  2. Recently my grandmother lost her dentures when we took her on a trip, which has made it difficult for her to eat solid foods. I would really like to talk to the hotel and see if they noticed them missing. It sounds like if they don’t have them that we can’t really do much past that. Next time we travel, I will be sure to monitor her and be sure that we are keeping track of her belongings. In the meantime, though, we need to get her a new set so that she is able to eat properly again!

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  3. There have been a few times when my dad accidentally lost his dentures. He remembers taking them out, but he has trouble remembering where he left them. Out of these possible scenarios, it seems like my dad has accidentally left his dentures on his dinner plate. It seems like it would be possible for him to leave his dentures on a plate and forget about them when a waiter comes over to clear the dishes. I should remember to remind him to put his dentures back in his mouth after he eats from now on. Thanks for the tips!

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  4. I would feel terrible for anyone who looses their dentures, so I’m glad you have provided tips for what to do in that situation. Getting a permanent label engraved into the dentures is a great idea to prevent future losses. Like you mentioned, another option would be implants. http://www.hamiltonmoutaindentureclinic.ca/our_services.html

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  5. My mother has been wanting to get dentures for some time now but her losing them is one of my biggest concerns. She can be pretty flaky when it comes to keeping track of her things, even things that go in her mouth! I am thinking about taking here to a denture clinic here in Red Deer and I am glad to know that there are steps you can take if a pair gets lost. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. My grandmother lost her dentures yesterday at my cousin’s wedding. It’s good to know that we can quickly get her a replacement set. It’s also good to hear that if they’re lost at the hospital during a visit, they’ll normally pay for it. That would definitely be nice if it ever happens!

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  7. I think it would be horrible to lose your dentures, especially when you are admitted to a hospital and will have to stay there for a while or just be away from a denturist. I know that some people have replacement dentures but the cost of dentures are expensive so losing them in the first place is a big deal. Like you said, keeping track of your belongings is ultimately going to help you to not lose your dentures.

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  8. I never really understood how someone could lose their dentures. Growing up, my grandma always did. I always thought “How can you lose your teeth?” To me, I felt like that would be such a hard thing to lose because it would be something that you would need all of the time. Anyways, now that I am taking care of my dad and he uses them he has lost his once or twice just around the house. How would you say is the best way to help us help him to not lose them again? http://www.drwoolbright.com/dentures/

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  9. I have heard losing your dentures can be a huge loss of money. The replacements for those are so expensive and a lot of people really can’t afford to lose them. I wonder if there is a warranty or something you can get in case it breaks or gets lost within a certain time period so that people can have a grace period. I think that would be fair for everyone.

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  10. I am taking care of my grandmother for a little while, and I am determined to make her stay with me perfectly comfortable. However, she never stops stressing about losing her dentures. This weird fear has brought a few fun outings that I planned to a sudden halt. I want to understand it better, so I decided to look into what would happen if they did get lost. I think your tip about having an engraving would really help her to feel more relaxed. This article was really helpful to me, thank you for describing how insurance comes into play and who could help you replace something like this. http://www.nwdenture.com/services/dentures/

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  11. swimming in a river. hydraulic water pressure. push denture out.brand new .tony. dirty muddy river & hot day.

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  12. My 85 yr old spouse, lost upper denture, can’t eat very well. How long and cost will it take to replace, on fixed income

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  13. I just got new two dentures few years ago, I remove my dentures put wrap up paper napkin at McDonald’s tray. I eat double hamburger. I threw away but not think of my dentures is gone to garbage truck. My mind black out or stress. I can’t afford second opinion. I feel bad.

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  14. I think your advice is valuable. Both my parents have lost dentures in their carehome in England. We went through the process of getting new ones for my mum and after a long process in which the dental practice managed to lose the impressions my mum finally had dentures. When I visited I the care home I discovered the new dentures were lost after only 2 weeks or less! They cost over £300.
    The problem is my Mum has Alzheimer’s and my Dad has vascular dementia.

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  15. I was able to find a insurance policy that would cover my lost partials. But the insurance had to be purchased within 10 day of purchasing your dentures, partials etc. But I am including the website for you to do research. I will remember to research this option if I have to purchase a new pair. Good luck.
    http://www.insureyourdentalappliance.com/#

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