Friday, November 13, 2009

Easy Go

I was hoping to have $1,000 of the money from my temporary job to add to my mortgage payoff plan. That would have given me a nice cushion for next year. Well, at lunch today my tooth started bothering me. I thought I had something stuck between them. That wasn't the case. At 4:30 I realized that my tooth was actually cracked. 4:30 on a Friday is a very bad time to discover a major dental problem.

I haven't been to the dentist in almost 2 years. The dentist that I had in Yuma was great. Since I've been in Tucson I went to a new dentist but I didn't like her. I've been looking for a new dentist but it hasn't been a top priority. A few months ago a new office opened closer to my home so I called them but I didn't have time to check with my insurance to see how the billing will work. Hopefully I can make it through the weekend without cracking my tooth the rest of the way and then I'll stop by the new dentist on Monday morning for an estimate. It's gonna be a big bill. Even with insurance it cost me over $600 the last time I broke a tooth. That was 5 years ago. Oh well. At least I have the money available. It's not what I wanted to spend it on but I'll get my mortgage paid off eventually. It's just going to take a little longer.


Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Yikes. Was the $600 for a crown last time? Maybe you negotiate a non-insurance cash price and see what happens. Good luck, and I hope it doesn't affect your weekend.

Daizy said...

It was a crown. Another time I think I paid $800 for a crown and root canal. I hope I can find a dentist as good as the one I had.

Stacey said...

Yikes! When my husband cracked his tooth, he was able to get by with a filling and no crown. It was less than $200. We now have dental insurance from - the cost of premiums is the same as two cleanings per year, so we break even if there are no problems and save money if we need "work" done.

Good luck! I'd also ask about negotiating a cash price.

Andy Hough said...

Have you considered going to the dentist in Mexico? I got a root canal in the little town across the border from Yuma for $100 a few years ago. It seemed like a good deal to me.

Dave said...

I had not been to a dentist in several years when I cracked a tooth 20 years ago. He put in a big filling which, despite his best efforts at maintaining, was not holding up well 15 years later (in 2004). He had been bugging me to get it replaced with a crown. I finally got the crown (no root canal, thankfully) which cost me about $500 (because I was still working and had coverage) covered only half of it.

The upside from the crown is that he has had to do zero work on that tooth in the last 5 years, so the heavy upfront cost (copay) is offset by no likely additional payouts on that tooth ever again. Consider that offset in your long-term calculations.

Similarly, as I may have mentioned in my previous comments elsewhere (and as Stacey pointed out), not having dental insurance any more and paying out-of-pocket for two exams, cleanings, at most one or two small fillings, and one set of X-rays every year will cost about the same as my former dental insurance under COBRA (i.e. former employer's group health dental) plus deductibles and copays.

Besides that crown I had in 2004, I had another one in 2007 and two wisdom teeth pulled in 2008 (after years of prodding by my dentist), getting the costly dental work out of the way before I retired late last year. As a result, two of my last 3 regular visits have had no cavities.

I wish you luck in getting through this difficult process.

Daizy said...

Stacey, $200 certainly was a bargain. My tooth already has a filling so I know I'm not going to get away that cheap.

Andy, I have considered going to Mexico. I haven't met anyone who has actually done it and can recommend a dentist. I do know some Mexicans though...suppose I could just ask them.

Dave, I've been told that silver fillings only last 15 years. Don't know if the white fillings only last that long too. I've had all of my silver fillings replaced with white. Now the white ones are being replaced with crowns. I wonder if the crowns will be replaced by implants? My mouth is a ticking time bomb. I was hoping to make it until after my mortgage was paid off before I had to start fixing my teeth. I didn't quite make it.

Anonymous said...

Daizy, this is Dave. I can't seem to get my Google ID to work now.

Daizy, it is too bad you don't have my dentist.

Other than the large, 15-year-old filling (i.e. 1/3 or the actual tooth) which got replaced by a crown in 2004, and the mere large 18-year-old filling which got replaced by the other crown in 2007, all the other metal fillings, some of them nearly as large as #2 above have been fine. He did replace two of them near the front of my mouth with white ones a few years ago, though, more for visibility. He has not mentioned anything about getting additional crowns or filling replacements.

Lucky me?

Daizy said...

Lucky you indeed Dave. Maybe my dentist just liked the easy money of re-filling fillings at my expense.