For the month of March, we’ll be zeroing in on personal health and wellness. In this week’s unit, we’ll start scheduling all the appointments, focusing in today on your dentist and optometrist. Additionally, I’m going to take a moment to remind everyone that I’m not a medical professional—these episodes are friendly conversation and should be taken as such.
I’m lumping these two healthcare professionals together for two reasons: one, because vision and dental are often optional and extremely inexpensive insurance options that are worth it worth it worth it; and two, because I have a friend who always says stuff like, “I’m proud of you for going to the dentist so your teeth don’t fall out,” and “Did you change your contacts? Taylor, your eyes are going to fall out.” And she’s right—when we talk preventative medicine, these two have such immediate ramifications for not being regular appointment holders. So let’s start with vision.
I’m a glasses and contacts wearer and have been since I was a kid, so I knew that if I ran out of contacts, I had to get an appointment to see my optometrist, get my eyes checked, and that was that. And it didn’t usually go beyond that. Until one year when I wore each month’s set of contacts for two months to stretch my dollar and ended up getting a cyst somewhere on my eye. I still don’t really like to think about it, but it was followed by a pretty gnarly eye infection a few months later. Eye stuff sucks. And even if you don’t have bad vision, I have family that have had detachments in their eyes that make me all squirmy. Okay. So, I didn’t mean to make you super uncomfortable, but if you don’t need glasses or contacts, vision insurance will probably cost you from $20-$40 a year if your employer offers it. That’s $20 and an hour of your time to literally make sure that your eyes don’t fall out. If you wear glasses or contacts, you likely already have an optometrist you like and are comfortable talking to, that’s awesome, and a portion of your eyewear will be covered by insurance, so check your policy and learn how much you get for glasses and contacts. You’ll often end up saving over $100.
Similarly with teeth, I thought I could stretch my dollar by avoiding the dentist for a few… years when I was in my early twenties. I was busy and you know, didn’t have time for the dentist! But I was, frankly, stupid, because with teeth, they WILL FALL OUT if you don’t get them cleaned every six months. My I family and I have genetically terrible teeth, which I didn’t know until I went to that first dentist appointment at the not-so-gentle nudging of my friend. She set me up with hers, and I had to have about $1000 worth of dental work done over the course of the next year that could have been entirely prevented if I had just gone in for my cleanings (which were, by the way, completely covered by my insurance). I have since made maintaining my dental health a top priority, and even found a dentist who didn’t shame me for not flossing--flossing gives me mega anxiety, and so they nudged me toward a Waterpik instead and my teeth are forever grateful. Unexpected? I have a non-medical cosmetic stain on one of my front teeth from high fevers when I was a kid (you’ve maybe seen it on Instagram) and part of the cost of maintenance is included in my insurance. WHICH IS AWESOME! I strongly recommend finding a private dental office that isn’t part of a larger chain. You’ll just get a more comfortable experience since they don’t have the option to switch doctors on you quickly.
Again, you can ask up front what things will cost. If either of these optional, preventative providers suggests doing a lot of expensive things from your first appointment, you can get a second opinion. I haven’t had a single healthcare provider judge me or laugh in my face about cost—but simply adjust course in a way that works with my finances. Just know that “preventative” care is SO much less expensive in the long run and really does make a huge difference in your overall health. Plus, as an adult, you can get yourself ice cream after you have your preventative care appointments, so that’s really a win in my book.
So, today, just book the dang appointments friends.
If you have a dentist or optometrist story to tell, I would love to hear it! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on Instagram @nowthatimnotyourteacher.
Tomorrow, we’re talking about Therapists for mental health, and the rest of the week we’ll touch on Personal Appearance appointments, and financial wellness service providers. Make sure you check out yesterday’s episode about your Primary Care Physician if you missed that.
If you’ve resonated with any episodes lately, I would love for you to share about it on Instagram or Twitter and tag the show @nowthatimnotyourteacher. And finally, if you haven’t left a rating and review on your podcasting app, I would really appreciate your taking two minutes to go to Apple podcasts and do just that. In fact, you can do it while in the waiting room for your next appointment.
You can do it, I can help. I’ll be back here tomorrow with you to talk eyes and teeth!
Now That I'm Not Your Teacher by Taylor Vogel is a podcast that offers insight about the real world stuff that teachers often want to say, but either don't have time to or really shouldn't.
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