False (?) Dichotomy: a good time or gum disease?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My senior year of college, I wrote a weekly column for the student newspaper called “Preparing for a Paradoxical World.” I was in my second year as news editor for the paper and why I decided I had time to pen a weekly column addressing the hypocrisy that most college students will face following graduations, I don’t know. Anyway . . . .

The real point is, we twenty-somethings face a barrage of contradictory advice: take time to build your career, don’t rush into a relationship, have kids before you’re too old to enjoy them, travel now, don’t go without health care. Obviously we can’t have everything and when we sidle up to the life decisions’ counter, we have some interesting mixing and matching to do with an infinite amount of choices. Just yesterday when Andy went into the clinic for a minor (minor) illness, his prescription ended up costing more than $100 out of pocket. Even when we make decisions, like to be one of the young adults with health insurance, we’re not always in for a straight forward ride.

Last week, I wrote about my resistance to get my hair cut with any regularity. Today’s topic is another source of procrastination: making a dentist’s appointment.

My teeth are pretty much just fine. I never had braces and my parents (bless their souls) had the foresight not to feed my brother and me tons of sugary pop, candy, or other “teeth busters.” Cavities are not something I have to contend with. Still, my teeth are due for a check up and cleaning. To be honest, they’ve been due for a check up and cleaning for nearly two years.

Yet, there always seems to be some expense that takes precedent over a dentist appointment. Just last week, as Andy and I pondered whether or not we should go down to Duluth the night before his seminar and spend the night in a hotel, it struck me that the cost of the hotel room for the night was just about the cost of a visit to the dentist.

Really, I thought, I’m making a decision between a good time and gum disease? It should be a no-brainer. I mean, plaque that builds on your teeth is the very same stuff that can clog up your heart and lead to heart disease down the road. And I’ve written enough health and wellness articles this year to know I’d rather not deal with cardiac rehab anytime soon.

But the money spent on the dentist is just high enough and my teeth are just fine enough, to make me think this is an expense that can be put off, for another month here or another two months here. Keep up that behavior long enough and before you know it, it’s been two years since the last time I had a dental hygienist yelling at me about not flossing.

Being an adult often means the fun thing to do is not the right thing to do. And that’s an irony I don’t always feel strong enough to deal with. But I’ve really got to make a dentist appointment one of these days . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Ada, I feel your pain! I've been going on 3 years without a trip to the dentist (Ha, I beat you!) The sick part -- I HAVE dental insurance. I pay for it every month. My dilemma, however is more like "spend my day off sleeping in and having a good time" or "spend my day off making up for 3 years of lost flossing to avoid embarrassment" For 3 whole years I've been choosing the former. Dental health fail. (Let's just not tell Jenna...deal?) ;-)


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