I’m often complimented on my smile. Yes, it’s nice but it hasn’t always been nice.
If you are old enough to remember what Cher looked like when she was just starting her career with Sonny, she was a gorgeous girl but her teeth were, in my opinion, awful. That harsh judgment was because my teeth looked just like hers and it was no consolation. Eventually, she fixed hers and I fixed mine.
As a child, I thought my teeth made me look ugly. I hated them, believing I would have to go through the rest of my life with them just the way they were. And, I did go through many years with those unsightly teeth. I tried not to smile a lot.
When I was finally able to get them fixed there were many concerns: Was it expensive? Very, and that’s because the procedure was extensive. All gold and silver fillings had to go. I could have gotten a good result for less cost and less work for the dentist but I wanted it all. I also wanted to keep the teeth I had. Could I trust the cosmetic dentist to work magic? I got lucky. He was amazing and I still see him three times a year to get my teeth cleaned. Would it be painful? No, it wasn’t. Would the procedure interfere with my work schedule? Yes and no, but I made it work. Was I apprehensive? You bet I was but It was a “now or never” situation. My husband, fully aware of the cost of the extensive procedure, encouraged me to go for it and I did.
Wouldn’t you know — when the work was finished, I was not entirely pleased with the result. My teeth still needed tweaking so it was up to an orthodontist and Invisaligns to complete the magic. In the end, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I still wear a retainer at night. If I miss a night the retainer is very tight the next night. Teeth do move!
I tell you this because many older women are concerned about their facial appearance and ask what I have done. Other than commenting on the nice smile which they assume I ALWAYS had, they ask about a facelift, fillers, lasers, and Botox. But wait — let’s not get ahead of things.
My dentist tells me that about 50 percent of his patients over age 50 have some degree of gum disease and other oral concerns, and 50 percent seems to be the norm for all dentists. Problems include bleeding infected gums, bad breath, sores in the mouth, and broken and loose teeth that eventually fall out. The sad thing is, many older people do not have dental insurance that covers complicated dental issues so they don’t go to a dentist — ever.
Many see their teeth as just not that important and that’s sad. I’ve actually been told that by an older man! Often not understood is that when gums are infected, bacteria oozing from them travel all over the body causing an array of aches, pains and other “I don’t feel good” feelings that seem to have to no cause. (And you know what? No one wants to kiss a mouth in that condition!)
Another thing: Diet matters. If you are strong enough to give up refined sugars, you will probably see improvement in the condition of your gums, even if they are not bleeding. That has been my experience. Refined sugar is poison to your entire body.
So, if you are thinking about doing something to your face, be it simple or extensive — don’t do it if your teeth are in bad condition. It’s sad to see an older woman spend money to get a beautiful face when she has nasty teeth she doesn’t think are important to fix.
Deal with your teeth first and ONLY then think about finding a qualified cosmetic surgeon to improve whatever you want to be done to your face And remember, whatever your age, whatever you choose to have done, and regardless of discouragement you may get from friends and family, do what you would like to do, if you can. Please don’t listen if others say, “At your age, why bother?” Listen only to positive advice and opinions. Healthy, attractive teeth are the best beauty and HEALTH asset you have. You are NOT too old to make them look better! You will smile more broadly, more often and feel better. Go for it, Girlfriend (and Boyfriend)![To further understand the detrimental effect of gum disease and some drugs, read “Two New Ways To Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk”
Also, read “Dying From Dirty Teeth: Why the Lack of Proper Oral Care Is Killing Nursing Home Residents and How to Prevent It”]
Thanks so much for your feedback, Mary. I’ll bet you are a knockout! Send a photo if you can!! And good for you for using resources available to you! Dental schools are great places to get help. Also, many older people have antique cars and other “treasures” they could turn into cash to improve their health. Let me know how the rest of your dental adventure goes.
Totally agree, however, as you know, fixing teeth can be very expensive. I am fortunate enough to live near Gainesville FL where they have an amazing Dental School program. I pay about 1/2 what you would pay “on the street” for implants. I’ve been going there as a patient for several years. My last of 7 implants is scheduled for the end of this month.
My 78 year old smile never looked better!