People often tell me “I am retiring next year so take a look at my teeth and let me know if we should do anything before I lose my dental insurance”. Let me share some thoughts on dental health and retirement.
Our practice focuses on helping people create health as opposed to just “fixing” disease. What does that mean? A health-centered dental practice helps identify the causes of disease to prevent them. We help you develop a plan to keep your teeth for a lifetime, based on your current condition and your ability and willingness to take care of your teeth properly. A disease-centered practice simply fixes your tooth or dental problem when “something happens”. This leads to more dentistry, more costs and less peace of mind that you are healthy.
However, even as a health-centered dental practice, we cannot give you dental health. Optimum dental health is what you create for yourself with great home care with brushing a flossing; a balanced healthy diet without too much sugar; and partnering with a dentist who will give you regular feedback on your home care and any changes in your dental health. The Dental Fitness Program, where we measure dental plaque and bleeding gums at every visit using a computer, is our way to give you regular feedback on how you are doing to keep yourself healthy. In addition, optimum dental repair is a choice you make to allow us to provide you the longest lasting, lowest risk dental treatment that you can maintain and afford.
So what does this have to do with retirement? If you made it into retirement with good dental health, it is because of what you have been doing up to that point – keep doing the same things to maintain good dental health. Yes, if you need some older dentistry updated and want to take advantage of dental insurance, the time prior to retirement may be a good time to do this. But coming in less frequently after retirement because of losing dental insurance presents some real risks.
Some people who see us less frequently in retirement have what would have been small problems develop into big problems, which becomes more costly to repair than it would have to just maintain the same preventive care schedule they had prior to retirement.
You worked hard your whole life and deserve retirement. If part of the joy of retirement involves eating what you want; having a confident smile; and keeping the good dental health you have had, then keep doing the same things for good dental health you did before retirement – good brushing/flossing; having quality dentistry when needed; and keep regular visit so we can watch out for you.