Monday, January 19, 2009

Some lessons from the dentist:

1. Not going to the dentist means you probably will need a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning costs about $450 (give or take).

2. All the cavities I have in my mouth could have been avoided through flossing (daily).

3. Bone loss happens when you have gum disease and the bone erodes over time. Bone loss is not reversible and the basic premise is that you eventually can lose enough bone that your teeth won't have a place to be rooted. So they fall out.

Having grown up in poverty, I really did not have much exposure to the dentist and it was not a part of our families' routine. My mom had dentures ever since I could remember and we were concerned about other things like having enough food or dealing with issues -- dental health was on the way back burner.
I did not think of it much in college. I have relatively straight teeth and I did not have any sensitively so I just rolled with it. Years later when I announced I was getting married, my aerobics instructor (a.k.a. dental hygienist), gave me a good clean as a wedding present. I was surprised to find out that I did not have any cavities.

At age 31, pregnant, I had my first cavity. Since then, it has been hit or miss. I have been getting to know my dentist quite well these past two weeks as I try to use up all my benefits before the lay off takes place. He is a nice guy, but I wish we could have met under different circumstances.
Thing is, flossing, brushing and visiting the dentist are not hard things. I am not sure how I missed the relevance of the good dental health lectures in school. I am certain they shared these things. Now as I reach into my pocketbook, I grimace and cry (just a bit) as I realize all of this could have been avoided!

Don't you want to love your teeth? Group hug!


Tiff said...

Thanks for the reminder. Why is it that we always put important stuff like this on the back burner when it's so easy to just floss and brush? I hate to see what's going to happen the next time I go, it's been so long, but you've inspired me to make an appointment! Now to hope I don't have to get a deep cleaning, that stuff hurts!

Mars Girl said...

I hate my teeth. I've had so many root canals, I've lost count. Bleh. And I brush my teeth and everything (friends in college used to mock how long I brushed my teeth). You cant beat genetics, though.

I've been so happy that I've managed, finally, to go without a cavity, root canal, or crown for two years. I had to start making myself floss EVERY night and use a flouride rinse after brushing... I also bought an electric toothbrush at my dentist's urging. I think that finally by doing all this stuff, I've found a "program" that prevents the cavities... Thank God... My mom has had to have a "bridge"--two of them, in fact--due to our genetic dental issues. Bleh. I hope that never happens to me.