February 16, 2020

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

February 16, 2020 5 min read

Dear Annie: Can you tell me whether this is a scam? Dentists are now telling seniors that their old fillings need to be replaced. My dentist told me this, and I've never had a bit of trouble with my fillings or teeth. I said I won't replace them until they bother me. I was also told that I need additional, costly work done when I haven't had a bit of trouble with the tooth in question. When I declined, I was told that when I do have trouble, they may not be able to help me.

When the technician cleans your teeth, she picks at the fillings. I am convinced this loosens them. They shouldn't do that.

Now my daughter, 55, is being told the same thing, although her teeth haven't given her any trouble. What do you say about this? — Ventura, Calif.

Dear VC: We spoke to Dr. Maria Lopez Howell at the American Dental Association. Here is what she said:

"The recommendation to replace existing dental fillings is not based on a person's age. No filling lasts forever, and the older the filling the more likely it is to show signs of wear and tear. Just because the tooth isn't bothering you now doesn't mean there isn't a problem coming down the road. Conditions in your mouth change as you get older.

"Regular dental visits are important to minimize the need for more extensive and, most likely, expensive procedures. Although you may not be able to tell whether your fillings need to be replaced, your dentist will check to see if the filling is sealed to the tooth. Fillings that have worn away, chipped or cracked may leave gaps through which bacteria can enter.

"When your dentist recommends treatment, feel free to ask 'why' and say 'show me' on an X-ray or image so you understand what needs to be done. The ADA calls upon member dentists to be honest and trustworthy in providing patient care and to have the benefit of their patients as their primary goal. If you still feel uncomfortable with the treatment recommendations, don't hesitate to get a second opinion."

Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law is mean to my husband and me. She avoids talking to us and only includes us in family events if she has to. She only wants to do things with her friends and her family.

My son says we need to "get on their schedule" way in advance, yet they are always booked up when we ask. Once or twice a year, our son brings the grandchildren over for a couple of hours. We all have a wonderful time, and the kids wonder why they don't see more of us.

I loved my mother-in-law with all my heart. She and my mother were both great ladies who welcomed everyone and treated them with love and respect. I wish my daughter-in-law would open her mind and her heart to the possibilities. Other than prayer, I don't see a solution. — Sad Mother-in-Law

Dear Sad: Your letter voices a common complaint. All we can advise is to do your best to make friends with your daughter-in-law. Be gracious, generous and forgiving. Find something to praise about her and do so. We hope she will come around, and that your son will continue to include you in their lives.

Dear Annie: I am writing about "Louise in Louisville," who wondered whether her 60-year-old boyfriend was cheating, because their sex life had declined. He could be having problems with erectile dysfunction, as well as prostate problems, diabetes and numerous other medical issues.

He could be terribly upset that he cannot be intimate with her, and that's why he closes himself off. Some men feel embarrassed or ashamed when they cannot perform. My husband has similar problems, but we talk about it. There are other ways to show your partner how much you love them. — Louisville

This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.

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