Hello. Lana has posed a question which I will answer to the best of my ability.
I was wondering if you could blog or do a video about how you keep your dental bills low. I am paying a small fortune (I live in the States and do not have dental insurance), for extractions, crowns, bridges and gum treatments. I know that you grind up your nuts and seeds but are there any other tips you could give us? I am afraid I may end up eating mush for the rest of my life if this keeps up. My pocketbook hurts way more than my teeth!
Hi Lana. We have a two tier system here, NHS and Private, my dentist does both. People have the option of paying a monthly fee for the basics, which will include some work, check the list, then anything over that will be priced separately. My sister is in this scheme.
I am registered as an NHS patient, not on a scheme, so I pay as I go. I have the option of paying more for some treatments if I want to go private. About 13 years ago I opted for Private when I needed a new bridge, it was quicker, and they use better quality materials, so they said.
I have regular checkups, £20 I think at the moment. I have been getting checked once a year, and for many years I have not had to have anything done, except two fillings. My regular dentist has said my oral hygiene is very good. I have a checkup next month, I think I'm going to start getting them every six months instead of annually, just to keep on top of it.
When I read the Money Saving Expert Forum on health, I am amazed by how many people visit the hygienist when they go to the dentist. I have never seen a hygienist. The dentists on MSE say you shouldn't need to see a hygienist if you clean your teeth properly.
I have got quite a few fillings so I think these might need some attention in the future, but I'm not going to ask, I'll wait until the dentist says I need work doing.
How do I keep my dental bills low? I am meticulous with my cleaning. First thing in the morning before I put anything in my mouth, and last thing at night before I go to bed. And also before I go out, I hate to see food stuck in peoples teeth, yuk. I run my tongue around my mouth and if my teeth feel furry I nip to the bathroom for an extra brush. I floss between them. I tried teepee's but I only have three gaps between the teeth that I can get a small brush between.
One thing I will mention, clean your teeth after eating anything which will stain them. Coffee, red wine, beetroot, etc. If you smoke, then STOP immediately. Try not to sip sugary drinks and eat sweets. Brush your teeth if you do.
Regarding food. I take ages to eat a meal, carefully moving it around my mouth to break it down and mix it with saliva before I swallow. Digestion starts in the mouth. I don't want to send hard lumps down my throat and end up with indigestion. I take twice as long as anyone else to eat a meal. I try and avoid hard food that I have to bite into or chew. I even resist the temptation of biting into crisps, I suck them until they soften up. I have given up eating fresh apples unless they are pulverized with a blender. To be honest I would rather eat mush than have to run to the dentist with a broken tooth or filling.
Using the mini chopper for seeds and nuts is a big help, and leaving the cereal to soak up the milk for ten minutes before eating it is a good idea. If I eat something that is a little bit hard, I cut it up with a knife and fork into small pieces and pop it straight into my mouth without having to bite into it.
Has the dentist told you that you need gum treatments? Are you expecting to need extractions, crowns, and bridges? I wonder if you are worrying unnecessarily. Have you asked your dentist how you can better look after your teeth? If you are doing all the above then you shouldn't need a lot of treatment.
Thanks for your questions, I hope I have given you some ideas.
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
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