Welcome to your 50th birthday


In my surgery I have a copy of a graph produced by Forbes magazine detailing health care expenditure against age in the US. Its easy enough to find on the internet if you want to have a look. In essence what is shows is that up to the age of 50 our health care costs are minimal and you might be hard pressed to even know who you doctor or dentist is, only attending when there is a problem.
What is startling is how the graph suddenly starts rising after the 50 year point.
Is it a global conspiracy that all the doctors and dentists have stated picking on the 50+ age group? Well maybe but is more likely that those crowns, fillings and veneers that you have been collecting over time have now been in constant use for 20-30 years and are starting to wear out coupled with some degree of gum recession opening up space between our teeth which we never had before.
What can we do about this? Well there are two choices.
The first is to pretend its not happening but put your dentists number on speed-dial and hope their weekend emergency service is good.
The second is to change the way we approach our healthcare and move to a more preventative attitude.
At the annual meeting of the British Society of Prosthodontics in Newcastle we were discussing when was the best time to have a crown or filling replaced. The conclusion was ‘just before you need to’. Now this might seem like daft advice but once you have got toothache or broken a big fillings your dental bills can rapidly go from expensive to very expensive.
So what’s the message? Give your teeth a treat and keep your gums healthy,make an appointment to fix those broken or discoloured fillings and sensitive teeth before your teeth make an appointment for you. Invest in your dental health early and it will save you a lot of money and grief in the long-term