I went to the orthodontist yesterday to see about braces. Yes, you read correctly. If you had told me even a few months ago that I’d be seriously contemplating braces at the ripe old age of sixty I would have laughed. But I am going forward, and about a month from now, I will have braces on my teeth just like a high school kid.
When I was a kid, I fell and chipped my tooth. Tons of kids chip their teeth every day, and no one thought much of it. The dentist put a wonky cap on it that kept falling off until the adults could decide what to do.
Finally, the dentist affixed a more permanent cap, and I was good to go. Only, the tooth beside it discolored. We discovered that the roots of both teeth had been compromised in the fall. Root canals would be needed for both teeth. Metal pins held the two teeth in place, one with a bulbous cap, the other slightly greyed. Like many teens in those days, I had braces, and for a short while, all seemed well until an infection was discovered and my two front teeth were replaced with a bridge.
I was never thrilled with the bridge. The color was not a good match and as the years have gone by, it has yellowed further. It now has a hair line crack and after almost 40 years, it’s time for a replacement. My dentist and I have gone back and forth about what to do. We talked about implants, and the fact that over the years, my teeth have crowded. We talked about “optimal” strategies and minimal patch jobs.
For the most natural looking result, implants would be the best way to go. Implants are permanently attached to the bone and look and act like real teeth. Right up the road is one Dr. Picos, the king of the implant so in May, I paid him a visit to see if I would be a good candidate for implants. Alas, I am not. In the many years I have had the bridge, the bone has receded and unfortunately, there is not enough bone for him to work with. In some instances bone can be grafted, but in my case, the amount of grafting needed was cost prohibitive and Dr. Picos was not confident we could get the result we both wanted. Back I went to my dentist to revisit replacing the bridge.
So, how the heck did we go from implant to bridge to braces, you ask? Since my current bridge went in, my teeth have moved and to get a really nice result, we decided it might be a good idea to straiten my teeth first, then replace the bridge. Initially, the discussion centered on the fact that my bottom teeth are crowded. It turns out that the orthodontist will be putting more emphasis on the top teeth, where the bridge is, so that when it’s replaced it will be more natural looking.
I wanted to dive into some of the thoughts that have swirled in my mind as I have been working on this decision. First, I kinda wish I had gotten implants 20 years ago. I would have been a good candidate at that time, but it wasn’t on my radar screen. My husband wouldn’t have gone along with the expense, and I had become very used to putting myself behind the wishes of my husband, thoughts of our budget, and the fact that we had a little baby at the time. Things have changed a lot since then.
I have to bring up another issue that has kept me from getting my bridge fixed: fear. Yes FEAR. For years I have been fearful of having this work done. I’m not afraid of the pain, none of the extensive oral surgery’s I have had on these teeth has been painful, (except when I got the bill). So, it’s not the pain. I have never really put my finger on why I’ve been afraid, it’s a pretty strait forward repair. I decided to go forward with the fear. If it were specific, I might pay attention, but since I can’t put my finger on what’s at the center of the fear, I am not going to let it hold me back. End of.
Next up was “why go to the trouble at age 60?” I mean who cares at this point? Interestingly, I do. A part of me still wants to be pretty, and have a healthy white smile. I see myself as an “old person” I’m just me. I want to stop the habit of putting myself on the back burner. It’s time to step up and live my best life, as I’ve said more than once in this series. For me, that means investing a little into my appearance, along with a few other things on my bucket list.
Next week: Getting physical: getting back in shape and maintaining it in middle age.
Questions for you:
1. Is there anything you’ve had on your list that needs taking care of in the healthy or beauty area?
2. What is keeping you from taking care of it?
3. What baby step could you take to investigate, or begin moving forward toward taking care of it?
If you are putting yourself on the back burner, now might be a good time to reconsider. Remember, you will never be younger than you are today, and it’s never too late to live your best life.