In this blog entry Dr Darryl Marsh writes… my perspective on why the price of dental work is less important than how you take care of your teeth over your lifetime.
As my friends and I reach our 50s I can fully appreciate the adage that ‘Youth is wasted on the young’. At age 25 good health seemed a given. Bodies required no maintenance to keep them feeling good and in reasonable running order. It’s like you’re floating downstream with the current.
The tide changes
Like all dentists, leaning over and bending at strange angles to see inside my patients’ mouths has taken its toll. Neck and back pain are par for the course in 50 year old dentists. For me this means I am getting to know my physio and daily stretches quite well.
The need to take care of your teeth increases with age – dentures vs natural teeth
It’s a similar thing for many of my patients with their teeth. Years of wear and tear with the teeth mean that the amount of dental treatment, both repair work and active maintenance (those six monthly check-ups), become more important to keep things humming along smoothly.
Many people ask quite rightly “What if I just have all the teeth extracted? What will happen then?”
The good news is, you can still eat it’s just not eating as you know it. Life without all of your teeth has significant biological costs, ie damage to the body, which may not be possible to repair fully. Research tells us that replacement of missing teeth with dentures will only let you chew with one fifth the power of your original natural teeth. The longer the time since the teeth were removed, the worse this becomes.
Whilst some people are suitable for dental implants this is a very expensive way to do things.
The penultimate dental aim – keep your own teeth healthy for as long as possible
What I would like is for all my patients not to have to spend thousands of dollars anxiously dealing with one painful dental disaster after another. My goal is to have low stress preventive oriented visits so they can control their dental problems and minimise the risk of future problems.
So when you go to the dentist next remember, “You get what you pay for”, ie high quality and long lasting work will mean you spend less on your teeth in the long run.
The emotional cost of the dentist
Lets also not forget the emotional costs of lost sleep, the pain of tooth abscess or lengthier treatments to fix advanced dental problems.
Know your dentist, trust your dentist and your treatment = the best lifetime value for your teeth
Isn’t having a regular check up and clean better and cheaper than to waking up in the middle of the night one weekend searching for a 24 hour emergency dentist you don’t know and who doesn’t know you.
Please don’t ever ignore a sore tooth, gum pain, bleeding or tender gums, tooth sensitivity to hot or cold – these are the body’s early warning signs. – These signs are telling you to take care of a problem now and if you ignore them the problem will definitely get worse.
And my final word… no matter how old or young you are make sure you (and your wallet) are with a dentist who you trust and is working with you for the best long term health of your teeth!