Retiring Soon? Questions That You Should Ask Your Dentist

Retirement is only a few years away. Along with making sure your finances are in order, it makes sense to think about future health needs. Specifically, what do you need to know about dental care for seniors?

Now is the time to have a word with your dentist and discuss a few basics. You’ll find that Toronto dentists can provide insights that will make it all the easier to plan for your dental well being in the years to come. During those conversations, be sure to bring up the following topics.

The Reality of Dental Costs After Retirement

How much will dental coverage cost? The fact is that you don’t have a clue. All these years, your employer paid in full for your heath insurance and the dental rider that went along with it. Other than paying deductibles, you really have no idea of what sort of costs are involved.

Keep in mind that OHIP doesn’t cover dental costs in most cases. There’s a narrow range of procedures that might be covered. For things like extractions, cleanings, fillings, and other basics, you will have to look elsewhere.

It is possible to secure a supplementary plan that will provide the type of support that you need. By talking with your dentist, it’s easier to find out which plans the practice accepts. From there, you can check out dental policies and identify the cost, the premium, and the scope of coverage that each one offers.

Procedures You Should Have Done Now

One way to minimize the potential for dental procedures later is to have them done while you’re still part of the work force. While you don’t want to have anything done now that’s not necessary, it never hurts to have your dentist conduct an examination and identify possible work that you will need several years from now. Once you have a list of what needs to be done, the two of you can work out a schedule.

The beauty of this approach is that your employer-provided coverage will take care of most of the expense now. That means you won’t have to be concerned about covering co-pays and deductibles for things like veneers, dental implants, and other issues once you’re living on a fixed income. While there will still be needs that arise, at least you’ve eliminated some of them from the mix.

Adjustments to Your Dental Hygiene Routine

Aging does mean that you may need to make some adjustments to the way you care for your teeth. The good news is that a dentist can provide suggestions on what needs to change. Some of them you can implement now, while others can wait until just before you retire.

What sort of adjustments may be needed? It may be time to think about switching to a different type of toothbrush. Maybe you should consider switching to a toothpaste with a different formula. There may be specific dental hygiene products that the dentist recommends, based on your general health.

There may also be recommendations to your diet that the dentist will recommend. The focus there is on helping to reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, and the ensuing cost of making repairs. That means the dentist may provide a list of foods that could cause damage that you would rather avoid.

Common Dental Challenges for Seniors

As most dentists can attest, the changes that happen as people age will mean an increased risk for certain types of oral health challenges. It’s good to discuss the possibilities with your dentist now, and have some idea of how to prevent them from occurring.

For example, did you know that people past the typical retirement age are at a greater risk of developing xerostomia (dry mouth)? The same is true for coronal caries. You will also be at a greater risk of periodontitis.

Your reaction to treatment options may also change after reaching retirement. Specifically, your body may be more sensitive to some of the medication used with various procedures or the plan for care after a procedure. That includes anesthetics used in many procedures. Your dentist can help you understand what could change, and educate you on alternatives that a dental professional may offer when you reach a certain age.

Planning to See Your Dentist

How often should you see your dentist after retiring? Assuming your dental health is stable, there may not be much of a change. You already have an annual dental checkup, and go in for at least one cleaning per year. It would be in your best interests to at least continue with those two to three visits a year.

Keep in mind the recommendation provided by your dentist will depend on your current health. If you have a chronic health issue, such as diabetes, the suggestion to come in more often is not unusual. This is because other health problems can impact the condition of your teeth and gums.

Remember that dentists are used to hearing all sorts of questions. Don’t feel awkward about asking anything that has to do with your present dental health, or how to take care of your teeth once you retire. Rest assured that whatever you ask is not a new question for your dental professional. Once you have that information, planning for the future will be a little easier.