Aging: The Dentist and the Older Me

English: *Portrait of Pierre Fauchard's histor...
English: *Portrait of Pierre Fauchard's historical book Surgical dentist. The following artwork was obtained from The Library of French Medicine website available on http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/sfhad/vol1/art05/article.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I suppose I could write a book about how different my life is becoming as I age. I am a walking talking study in gerontology. I have written about the way youngers treat the older me and how I feel about my life experiences but I have never written about going to the dentist.

Like most people, my dental visits are not a favorite of mine even though dentists are very nice people and necessary to my health. Over the years I would say that my experiences have been pretty typical. Nothing really changed from the time I was 20 other than a few methods. But when I went to my new dentist this last week it was a totally different story. We talked about, gasp, my age!

The poor hygienist was saying that I didn't look my age and the dentist was saying that a woman "of my age" has to think about how long they need for their fillings to last and if we really need to have a procedure when our teeth would probably be okay until the day we die.

I just turned 73 a couple of weeks ago...seriously I had not even considered dying anytime soon. My teeth are not falling out and if they do I will get them fixed the right way. I'm just a little vain so I may be a little funny that way.

So, my question is "When do you consider quitting medications, abandoning dental care and throwing in the towel?" Anyone have an answer for me?

b+

Comments

  1. Please. My mother went to the dentist a week before she died.
    Vanity is necessary for a long and healthy life. Vanity keeps us young. It helps us stay vital.
    I think vanity is one of the most necessary components for older age--and least talked about
    My father was proud of having all his natural teeth though as I figured it most were crowns--still
    natural.

    People in their 50's who talk about giving it all up at 75 will probably change their mind when they get older

    I have the worst metabolism in the world. Vitamin B works. And it's supposed to be great for all over health.
    I'm learning how to give myself shots--scared to death but...I tell myself if I had diabetes I wouldn't hesitate in giving myself shots. People give themselves shots in their eyes all the time (macular degeneration.)
    Then I think I might have lousy metabolism but I have great hair and skin--as I want to keep it I'll learn how to do the darn shots.
    Then I think of my all time idol--Gloria Steinem. She's 80 and look at her, listen to her. She's who I will listen to about aging. (Ever since we met on the subway some years ago we've had an incredible friendship--all in my mind but....)

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    1. I know what you are saying Pia, but here is the other side of the coin. This is the first doctor that has ever had the nerve to meet the subject of my age head on. I was not offended at all. In fact we had a very frank and helpful discussion. And we both laughed...a lot!

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  2. I think that was an awful thing for the dentist to say. I try to give everyone the benefit of a doubt and perhaps he wasn't even aware of how he was coming across, but my suggestion is he pay a little more attention to how he speaks to us seniors.
    Mary

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    Replies
    1. Talking with older patients must be very difficult for young people. I am glad that you are aware and making an effort to be sensitive.

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  3. The average women lives to is almost 87 years according to the Social Security Web Site - http://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.htm. Can you image not going to the dentist or taking care of your teeth for 14 years or more! Maybe your dentist needs a little more information about life span. A course in customer service wouldn't hurt either.

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    1. Well he did discuss the life of fillings and encouraged me to have cracked teeth fixed. But I am always a little weary of dentists wanting to remove what is working just fine. His estimation of my life expectancy fell a little short of what mine were though. I will give him another chance. I was just so surprised that we were even having the conversation. I was not ready for it....yet!

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  4. Is your new dentist 12 years old? What a silly thing to say. Good dental health prevents all sorts of problems, so why wouldn't we get our teeth cleaned and repaired as long as we are able. My dad turns 91 in two months, has most of his "original" teeth and goes in for a cleaning and checkup every 6 months.

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    1. Well Bob, as you know, dealing with someone a generation or two younger that yourself is like talking to aliens. He was trying but I was just taken aback. The discussion about how we would repair some damaged teeth and how long this type of filling would last a opposed to another had me wondering if he thought I would last out the decade.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. I am 72 years old, just had two knees replaced and feel I am gaining a new life (time). I just had my sixth month dental cleaning and checkup and all is well , except I was told AGAIN that I need to floss more often.

    As and "older"patient, I was offered a new treatment that I will likely have next time. It is a painted on flouride that stays on for 6 (?) hours and then I brush my teeth. No hot drinks or scratchy/sticky food during that time. The purpose is to help prevent more cavities from forming around the multiple fillings I already have. That way, the entire tooth has lesss vulnerability to cracking and breaking. I have already had 3 (expensive) crowns for just that reason so for $32 I am going to proceed. I already had luncheon plans or I would have done it this time!

    And, my dentist is a younger fellow that I really appreciate and feel good about any recommendations.
    Jeannine

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    Replies
    1. Jeannine, You are very like me in that I am not abandoning my teeth. On the subject of age, my dentists talked about which fillings to replace, if the metal ones were going to add to the failure of my teeth and if it was worth the thousands of dollars it would take to replace some bad enamel. I never get cavities because I was lucky enough to have flouride put on my teeth as a child. But the crowns are becoming more likely all the time.

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  6. I think Doogie Howser did my colonoscopy, so agism works both ways:)

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  7. I was at a meeting this morning and the facilitator called himself and the rest of us "white hairs". Can you imagine? We may be that, but do we have to talk about it?

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    Replies
    1. Some men just never get it do they? I suppose we are just going to have to get over it Linda! Darn.

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