Pre-retirement dental treatment... something we all need to know

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under

It is interesting that even though I graduated from dental school twenty years ago, I learn more and more things every day. Many times it's from my patients. Be it either positive or negative feedback, I learn from them how to be a better dentist.

Complaints from my retired patients who had moved away to sunnier or warmer climates began to surface after they requested their records be transferred to their new dentists. I began to hear how the new dentists, upon examining my old patients for the first time, explained how many of them needed some fairly extensive dental work such as multiple crowns, maybe a new bridge or possibly some implants to help stabilize their loose lower denture so they could eat properly and healthier again. A scenario would be as follows, "Dr. Magida, I'm living in Stuckeyville now and just came back from the office of my new dentist." My response would be, "That's nice, I'm glad you're taking care of your teeth." " But, Dr. Magida, he says that I need five new crowns." After looking over the persons dental chart I respond, "That sounds right. I told you the same thing at your last four hygiene visits with us, but you elected to wait each time and not do any treatment."

"Now I have to have this work done by a stranger. I would rather have had this treatment done in your office, where I felt comfortable for many years." Here comes the biggie: "Also, now that I have retired, I'm on a fixed income and have lost my dental insurance." It's interesting to hear how no matter how much money people have when they retire, they constantly complain about being on a fixed income.

"I wish that you had made me get the treatment I needed before I moved here. You know, my health isn't so good anymore and it would have been better if this treatment was done when I was feeling better."

Perhaps you the reader can see yourself in this scenario, or at least see it on the coming horizon. Don't put off needed dental treatment too long because there is, as they say, "no time like the present." Ask your dentist about recommending a pre-retirement treatment plan that can be phased in over time. This will eliminate one less thing you will have to be concerned about when you finally get that gold watch.

As I've previously stated, I learn from my patients all kinds of things which make me a better dentist. I have learned to really concentrate my efforts to educate patients about why they need to plan for the future. Even if it's about their teeth.

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