Thursday, January 10, 2013

Good Teeth

My sons all seem to have 'good teeth'.  Growing up in the 1980's with fluoridated water probably has a lot to do with it.  It is not likely they inherited any 'good genes' for teeth from my side of the family.

I have lots of gold and silver in my mouth, despite having had fluoride treatments when I was young.  I also did some time with braces.  If you have ever had to wear a retainer with those idiotic rubber bands, you know what I mean by 'doing time'.  And now, every night, I put a retainer in my mouth to keep from grinding down the teeth I have left.

I have had people comment through the years that I have nice dental work.  All I can say is that it comes at a price.  When they ask for a referral and I tell them how much a crown costs me, they say 'thanks' but 'no thanks'.  To the credit of paying for good dentistry, I have never had to have a crown or filling replaced due to breakage.  Well, that is up until today.

Yesterday I felt this 'hole' in my jaw line.  No pain, but definitely something was missing.  So this morning I went in to see the dentist (who is actually a prosthodontist).  I had lost part of the filling, not enough to cause any pain, but I was afraid that I would lose more in the future.

I have been with this practice since 1977, though my original dentist retired last year and his partner now runs the office alone.  I told him that I thought they had replaced the filling in the mid-70's.  Sure enough, 1978 according to the records.  He asked me to guess what I paid for the filling.  I guessed $30.  Close, it was actually $23.  I certainly got my money's worth out of that procedure.

He then said he hesitated to tell me what a new ceramic inlay would cost.  I had a number in mind based on my last crown.  I was close again with the figure for this procedure being $1500. 

Yes, $1-5-0-0.  Actually, I thought it would be more.  But I consider it money well spent.

Both of my parents lost all of their teeth and had false teeth.  I swore when I was young that I would make sure I kept as many as I could keep.  (I lost four teeth to make room for the other 28 when I had my braces put on.) 

I get a kick our of British TV shows when they talk about Americans teeth as though we were obsessed with them.  Maybe I am.  But for me, oral health is of great importance, and not just because I like to see a 'good smile' when I talk to someone (yes, I can be shallow, too).  And I am more than willing to pay for it.

Now, I just have to hope this temporary fix lasts until I get back there in two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I probably am obsessed with keeping my teeth. The thought of gumming my food fills me with dread. I don't have good teeth genetically and after braces -- and retainers -- I've had every dental procedure known. I have two very expensive implants and they look good. I thought they were pretty much forever, but even with my nightguard (one of my least favorite things) I managed to loosen it and it had to be re-implanted. My dentist had never seen that before. This may be too much information, but I think we are kindred dental spirits.

    P.S. Thanks for the kind thoughts about visiting Michigan. Mackinac Island is high on my list.


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