Monday, January 30, 2012

this is so expensive - and it shouldn't be...

like a lot of people i know, i ran out of money awhile ago. i went into survival mode and had to drop my big plans to fix my teeth so i could pay my rent. many moons passed. as God would have it, i saw an ad in amazon local offers to get a free x ray and exam recently. time was not about to stand still for me. i knew what i had to do. i went in and got back on that horse.

so what’s the rush, you might ask. why are you pushing so hard to do this – and why now.

the truth is, healthy teeth and gums should be a priority for everyone. people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. my teeth and gums affect my heart – seems farfetched, right? not really. oral bacteria can get into the blood stream through infected gums and flow to the heart by attaching to fatty plaque in the arteries, contributing to clot formation and doing all kinds of complications: swelling of the arteries, stroke. and yeah, it gets worse. (yeesh.)

my overall physical health is a big priority for me right now. when i was younger, i could eat anything, stay up all night, not work out and everything was sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. i was a size 4 effortlessly. and now? to quote big maybelle, it ain’t like that no mo’. the bottom line, for me? if i want my face and my body to look and feel a certain way, i have to work for it. smoking (anything), drinking alcohol, recreational drugs – thank God that was never my thing. probably because i was too broke/cheap to pull it off. so that’s not a hump i have to get over. i’ve gotten rid of a lot of bad eating habits and for the most part, i eat clean. i exercise to the point of complete exhaustion every single day, thanks to my love of boxing. the body i had when i was in college is finally coming back to me. naturally, my teeth and gums should come back, too.

i don’t get it. people will put more time and money and attention into their car – check-ups, oil changes, shiny rims, sound systems – than they will put into their own health and well-being. they can’t tell you the last time they went to the doctor for a basic check up, but they’ve got 50 pairs of expensive shoes. they scoff at organic foods – “that’s so expensive!” – but they’ve got
a closet filled with the latest designer clothing. and going to the dentist? unthinkable. you go to the dentist when there’s a problem, when there’s unimaginable pain or when a tooth inadvertently falls out. you don’t just go to the dentist.

i don’t even want to get into health insurance rates, why we need a national plan, and how idiotic it is that we consider ourselves to be the greatest nation on earth but we don’t have one.

so here’s my current trajectory. i had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, which was earth shattering. there’s another round of dental work that happens within two weeks and then i wait for everything to heal and fuse with my bone. that should take 6 to 9 months.

once that happens, i get braces. i will probably wear them for two years. when the braces come off, i will have the beautiful hollywood smile of my dreams. more importantly, my periodontist says i’ve added 20 years to my life – and taken more than 20 years off my age – by doing this.

the good news? because i’m an actor, i can write off all the dental work on my taxes as a necessary work expense. so, there’s my silver lining.

see you in 2014.

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