Do you think its excessive if I fly to London to visit Caroline for my dental care? I HATEthe dentist. I think Im probably scarred from a childhood of having to have just about every baby tooth pulled, spending too much time in the orthodontists chair while wearing braces, and the whole wisdom tooth ordeal.
Early last week I was sitting at my desk at work, enjoying a piece of gum, when all of a sudden I bit down on something crunchy.
Since it was you know gum I was surprised that there was anything crunchy. I took the piece of gum out of my mouth and there was a little white fleck in it. I still didnt know what it was, but I ran my tongue over my teeth to see if there was anything else there. My front molar on the right hand side felt odd so I looked in the mirror behind my office door. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the white thing in my gum had in fact been part of my tooth.
And that was the easy part.
Ive paid for dental insurance for the several years Ive been at my current job, but I have never actually used it. After this experience I think I know why. The first thing I did was take recommendations from my coworkers about dentists they preferred. None of them were accepting new patients. I finally was able to contact the dentist that I signed up with years ago, where technically I was not a new patient and made the next available appointment for several days later.
Evidently I needed a root canal on that tooth. I wish I knew more about dental care than I do because I feel like this guy could say whatever he wants and I would just have to agree to it. With the rest of my medical care, I know how to advocate for myself. I go into every appointment with research, knowledge, and questions. If I dont agree with the recommended treatment, I am able to discuss it with my doctor and we find a compromise. I feel like any compromise here will leave me toothless.
I paid a reasonable amount of money at the first emergency appointment. At the end of the appointment, the receptionist told me how much the root canal was going to cost. Without using exact numbers, lets just say it was several hundred dollars. Oh, and she mentioned it had to be paid in full at the next appointment. Thankfully I had recently received my tax return so I could cover the cost. I thought that was the end of the expense.
I went to the follow up appointment today for the actual root canal. I brought the pricing list from the dental insurance company with me because as hard as I tried I just could not figure out how to get the total to the price they had quoted me.
She broke down the pricing for me and wouldnt you know that the most expensive item on the bill was not on the pricing list and if its not on the list I get a fabulous 20% off the cost of the service. But that is not all, the hundreds of dollars I paid today was just for the root canal. I still need to pay several (read = SEVERAL) hundred more dollars for a crown on that tooth. But golly gee, that needs to be done over two separate appointments so I can pay half at each appointment.
And heres where it just gets ridiculous. I have only had one cavity in my life in my early teens. Several years after that filling, part of my tooth broke off the filling and, long story short, I needed a root canal. They did NOT do a crown on top of the root canal; I just had a larger filling on it. It is the tooth DIRECTLY next to the new problem tooth. According to this dentist, that tooth also now needs a crown. And when I asked for the pricing breakdown on the crowns, again the most expensive part of the procedure was not on the list.
I am so frustrated. I feel like there is nothing I can do but agree to these procedures. I am calling the dental insurance company tomorrow to make sure the pricing is accurate, but after that I just have to suck it up and pay. I DO NOT have the money for all of this. Not that I don’t WANT to spend the money on it, I don’t have it. Im not sure what Im going to do. I guess it’s time to break out the emergency credit card to pay off my fancy fake chompers.