Sunday, October 08, 2006

Before and After: Senior Smiles and Dentistry

Anyone who has read my essay, "My $30,000 Teeth," (included in my book) knows that I grew up with an addiction to chocolate candy, very bad teeth, and a problem with seeing dentists. I ended up with $30,000 worth of dental work, some cosmetic, some not, about two years ago. Just this year, two more teeth deteriorated and needed crowns, making the total about $33,000. For the first time in my life, my teeth look and feel good. See the photos above and below.

Why mention this now? I've recently met two intelligent, otherwise attractive people in my age group with "Jack-o-Lantern" smiles: just a tooth or two showing in the abysses of what I suspect were once toothy grins. I wonder why? These are not impoverished people. I suspect that neither has an extra $33,000, but surely they could afford standard dentures. I understand that even the poor can get dentures at little or no cost.

What's with senior citizens and dentistry, anyway? Costs have risen right along with the costs of medical care, of course. However, I've read that gum disease and rotting teeth can cause serious health problems. Are other seniors aware of this? Cosmetic dentistry may be a luxury, but dental health is not. Why are so many reluctant to consider it?

Copyright 2006 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photos courtesy of Peter M. Tomaselli, D.D.S., Chicago Smile Design

1 comment:

Alice said...

Wonderful! What a difference!