When my body and I were all shiny and new, I had no idea that living a long life involved spending lots of time and money on maintenance. I thought I would always leap nimbly out of bed in the morning, my hair would always be thick and full, and my teeth would only require perfunctory semi-annual visits to the dentist. Oh, if only!
I'm going to the dentist today for lots of injections and drilling that will eventually result in a new crown. It's not my favorite thing, but true to my boomer status, I'll do almost anything that lets me stay in denial about the gradual decline of the organism. I'm grateful for my mouthful of crowns and fillings, and well aware that without them, I'd look like one of those little dolls with dried apple faces.
My current dentist is a tiny woman from Hong Kong. Her skilled hands fit in my small mouth and she works quickly and nearly painlessly. She told me schools were too competitive in Hong Kong, so she had to go to her second choice--Harvard. I love that.
She also made me aware that you can outlive your fillings. What? Did I miss that section in the Human Body Owner's Manual? She's right, though--mine are abandoning me at an alarming rate. She said fillings and crowns only have a life expectancy of 10-15 years. My jaw would have dropped if my mouth hadn't already been propped open.
I'm aghast. Fillings and crowns age faster than we do--and MediCare doesn't have dental coverage! No wonder my Godmother worked until she was over 70. (That, and her strong desire not to be stuck at home with her stone-deaf husband, who refuses to get a hearing aid.)
I'm definitely going to have to figure out a plan to take care of my choppers when retirement rolls around in a half a decade or so. Until then, I'll just stay focused on gratitude--for teeth, for dental insurance, and for a body that can still get itself to the dentist's office!