Baby Boomers: Get your dental care now!


My aunt doesn’t mind being a baby boomer at all. What she does mind are the increasing references (nearly everywhere) to aging baby boomers.

So we’ll go lightly here, and simply say:

Dear Auntie,

As you and your friends are approaching the vibrant, meaningful and action-packed years ahead, here’s something to add to your pre-retirement checklist:

Be sure to get your teeth and gums into the best shape possible while you still have dental insurance.

Many people approaching retirement are thinking about their 401Ks and social security. Not as many are thinking about getting that crown they’ve been putting off or doing everything they can to prevent gum disease.

But when – which reports on investments and financial planning issues – put together its “Five Things to Do Before You Retire” list, #1 on that list was: Get dental care.

That’s because most people lose their dental benefits when they retire, and Medicare doesn’t help when it comes to dental care. I know you and your cohorts are thinking about all this, at least a little. WellPoint did a survey last year that showed that more than 60% of people contemplating retirement are concerned about how their dental coverage will change.

Fortunately, affordable plans are out there for people in their quickly-approaching vibrant, meaningful and action-packed years. AARP has a partnership with Delta Dental to provide reasonable priced dental plan coverage for its members. Before you retire, you should definitely look into what your options might be.

In the meantime, I’d like to encourage you to get all the dental work you need done – including those two crowns you and your dentist have been keeping an eye on. Consider that zirconia crowns last practically forever! I recently made one for my dad, and I imagine it will last his lifetime.

Once you do retire, regular dental visits will be as important as ever. Teeth inevitably wear down over time, which can lead to thin, weak, or compromised tooth structure. For people with strong jaws, worn down teeth can also cause trouble in the jaw joints (TMJs).

Old restorations break down too, and new cavities or other problems are likely to occur if regular professional care isn’t maintained. And receding gums can cause sensitivity and make you more susceptible to cavities below the gum line.

Often times you spend LESS on regular dental visits and cleanings than you might spend if you only go to the dentist for emergency treatment or when a tooth breaks.

So try to identify and address your dental problems early before they become bigger, more involved issues.

For now, keep smiling – and talk to your dentist about how to maintain your beautiful smile for a long, long time.

Love from your niece,
Dr. Megan