Preventative Maintenance

This week I went to my dentist for my usual check-up, and all is good in the teeth department.

I’ve been doing these check-ups since 2008 when a filling from many years before degraded and fell out, meaning some work needed to be done.

Since I was a kid I’d been apprehensive about the dentist due to the experiences at the school dental clinic, where such visits were covered by national health until you leave school.  I can still remember the fear associated with the smell of the cleaning products used back then for the clinic.

The fear was related to pain, something I’m quite allergic to if I’m honest.  I had to be tricked into going to the dental nurse.

Back in the late 70s’ to late 80’s an appointment requiring any excavation of the tooth was for me terrifying.  I don’t blame the dental professionals from the time, more so the tools they had to work with.  There was no high speed drill just something that seemed to grind its way slowly through and once in my case, get stuck.  It really hurt.

So the few fillings I got were rather a traumatic experience.  The dental nurse did a good job however as they are still in good condition now.  The miracle of amalgam fillings too I guess.

Back to my point, the reason I have a check-up every nine months is to have any necessary intervention done early, thus avoiding any major work.

This latest trip to the dentist got me thinking about how people put off going to the dentist as they say it costs too much money per appointment (mine was about $150NZD).

I think not going to the dentist for check-ups and maintenance is a false economy as I too found out back in 2008.

That trip in 2008 cost quite a lot due to getting things in shape to where with on-going self-maintenance I can keep my teeth in good condition.  Apparently, healthy teeth are also a good idea for good general health so there is that benefit as well as not having a big outlay in one hit financially for any remedial work.  I was lucky that my experience wasn’t too expensive and if I averaged out eight years of the total amount then I was OK; however, I had to pay up the full amount all at once.

I think everyone should make regular appointments, once a year at least to have a dental hygienist clean and check the teeth and have a dentist inspect them too.

I liken these types of check-ups to getting a car serviced.  For sure, I could just keep driving without changing the oil when I should but compared to an overhaul and oil change is peanuts.

So regular maintenance of ourselves be that physically, mentally, for knowledge or spiritually is a wise thing to do.

Incidentally, before 2008 I went once due to pain in my teeth eight years previously, a week before I was married.  Stress was the suspected cause.  My teeth are fine and I’m still married so it has all worked out pretty well so far. 


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