Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Dentist - what's reasonable?

I'm planning on doing something that I wouldn't recommend to anyone else. That's pretty unreasonable. And that's apparently going to cost me an arm and a leg.

I'm having my teeth pulled next year and getting dentures.

It's an extreme solution to a problem I've had for quite a while.

It's against recommendation.

So, you might be asking why I'm planning on doing it anyway.

1) My teeth hurt - all the time, all day, every day and have for several years.
2) My last two root canals and crowns were unsuccessful. As in those teeth hurt the worst.
3) I have a TON of cavities (like more than 10)
4) I have a TON of old fillings that might be making me sick - still waiting to talk to my doctor about running the MTHFR testing, but as it is I have over 30 fillings in less than 30 teeth
5) I have weak teeth - as in it's not uncommon for me to chip a tooth a week
6) My teeth are extremely sensitive to cold, air, etc. Even if all of the above issues were corrected, my teeth would still hurt daily. Yes I'm using the sensitivity toothpaste. But I haven't had a cold beverage for over six years. If I get a drink with ice, I have to wait for it to warm up to drink it, which means watered down drinks.
7) This is actually minor, but if I were honest, it's part of the decision as well. My teeth don't look good. I've stopped smiling with my lips open. I don't want to take a family portrait because I don't want to smile and show off the bad teeth. So there is a touch of vanity in there.

Why did the dentist agree? Because I have a TON of decay and old fillings. It would cost LESS to get dentures than to fix the teeth I have. And they did acknowledge that fixing the teeth wouldn't remove the sensitivity though they did try to convince me that fixing them would remove the daily tooth pain. I'm not buying it, I have already spent $4,000 on the last two root canals that did NOT fix the daily pain.

Why would I go through such a painful, unbelievably expensive process even if I have a doctor agreeing to it? I'm thinking that the people who ask this question. Or who are shaking their heads thinking I'm nuts haven't experienced four years of constant tooth pain. CONSTANT pain. I should buy stock in ambesol because a coating of ambesol is the only way I can eat. Or talk. Because my teeth hurt ALL THE TIME. I figure, the only ones that have the right to question me are the ones who have walked in my shoes. If you've spent four years with chronic tooth pain, I'm betting that you've at least thought about getting dentures. You might not have caved and decided it was a good idea yet. But you've at least thought about it. My mother had hers done at 34 for the exact same reason - chronic pain, issues with constant decay and weak teeth. I'm 46, I'm more stubborn than my mother was. I wasn't going to do this either. But, I'm pretty much done. If the dentist hadn't agreed to do it this year. I wouldn't have let them do anything to my teeth and I would have just come back in a year with worse decay because it wouldn't have been treated. I'm tired of throwing away good money on fixing teeth that hurt ALL THE TIME.

So, without buying the best dentures, but settling for a good warranty on quality dentures... what's it going to run?

AFTER ENHANCED dental insurance, I'm still going to need to come up with over $8,000 for the surgery to remove the teeth (oh yeah - did I mention? I have curved roots on my teeth - over $250 per tooth for extraction).

That's enough to buy a new car. I seriously need a raise.

Is it appropriate to get a quote at another dentist? I'm actually fairly certain this is probably a reasonable price estimate. But holy, camoly... that's a lot of money. The dentures themselves are only $1,200.  The vast majority of it is for the oral surgeon. Would it be crass to ask for a bulk discount? I suppose, but honestly, that might not stop me from asking anyway.

So, here's my plan. I went in towards the end of the year to get the estimate intentionally. Next month we'll be needing to set up our plans for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for our health and dental expenses. I can plan to set aside the max allowed FSA amount. I also want to set up at the same time a direct deposit account for savings for the 'other' medical expenses that might occur during the year as I can't imagine that I'll be completely out of the woods as of next year. I believe that I won't have enough money to cover the whole procedure even if I max out FSA and spend it all at the dentist. So, I also have to set aside $300/month. By January that will have me at over $1000 cash (not including emergency savings); plus approximately $5000 FSA funds; should leave me with about $2000 that I might have to set up a payment plan for. By then my Hospital bills (current debt) should be down to $0 which means that I should be able to afford about $300/month towards the dentures. (I hope). Barring major disasters, I should be in decent shape to get this done.

1 comment:

Just Me said...

I never comment - but I have had tooth pain - and I am not trying to change your mind - but it you are a user of Crest brand products - google the words 'crest toothpaste horror stories'. They changed the formula at some point and it effects some people - not everybody - in wild ways. I was one of those people too. A male coworker said he noticed he could no longer taste salt after using a Crest product. Switched toothpaste, and he was tasting salt again within two days. Friend sensitive to cold - switched toothpaste after hearing my story - and it changed her too.
It is an easy fix to try to see if it will help you. You need a simple toothpaste - Tom's of Maine from places like Target, Walmart.
I was using orajel all the time too. I know. Now I have developed an allergic reaction to orajel too. I am 50 years old - I have never been allergic to anything.
Till all this - I was brand loyal - using Crest Cinnamon toothpaste.
But it seems to follow other Crest products. And now other brands too. And there is a common ingredient that is in lots of these toothpastes - which would be really nice to remember now, but I don't. So please try this even if you don't use Crest products. But the Tom's of Maine doesn't have it - that is the easy one to try. The other brand was something that was available only thru the dentist for $20 a tube - but I was desperate, and tried that too.
But Tom's of Maine works -
It won't stop your teeth from chipping - and it took a tube for me to feel the difference - and to get that old stuff out of my system. But I had some of the same complaint you are having - after seeing the dentist - I googled and found I was not the only person with issues from Crest toothpaste.
Please do so checking - or try the toothpaste. My dentist had only one other patient that was bothered by the same thing I was. I was recommended the sensitive toothpastes too, but whatever it is that is irritating us - is also in that sensitive toothpastes. You need to get away from that ingredient - and see if it will help you. It is a $5 investment.
People with no teeth still have to brush - if this is your problem - it will still be your problem with no teeth.