Wednesday, October 14

Misers Save Money at the Dentist...

...Or at least defer costs.

2009 has not been the best year for my oral health. I learned, for instance, that there is a $1,500 annual cap on my dental insurance coverage. Sure enough, Murphy would have his way with me this year as I have had TWO root canals.

The most recent was in September, just a day after losing my job. Talk about being miserable. I will never forget Monday, August 31st. Over the weekend I had developed severe pain in my mouth, particularly the roof of my mouth. It felt like my face would explode. Knowing this was more than a severe sinus infection, I scheduled a same day visit to the dentist to have it checked out. He confirmed my fears and scheduled me with an endodontist for the next day. I was feeling a little loopy from the Lortab late that afternoon when my new boss told me there was someone he wanted me to talk to. I won't delve into the details of that.

Suffice to say it was my last day at work. The next morning, not sure whether I was more miserable from losing my job or from the tooth ache, I headed to my root canal appointment. The next step was supposed to be a visit to my regular dentist for the crown, but when I got the bill from the root canal and realized I had capped out my insurance for the year, I wasn't too eager to add to that cost so I procrastinated.

Fast forward to late last week. I was munching on Chex Mix when I felt a hard crunch that seemed out of place. I felt around my mouth but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary so I carried on. Then Saturday I thought I had been stabbed in the mouth with some Chinese torture device. I called the endodontist Monday morning and came in right away. He probed around and then he pulled out a big piece of tooth. I had fractured it.

I thought I would pass out. Lesson learned.

When I arrived at my dentist's office Tuesday morning, the receptionist told me that I would owe $715 for this visit. So I asked if there was any temporary measure they could take or some way to defer this cost until the new fiscal year.

Problem solved. My dentist did the "build-up", whatever that is. I even told him not to give me any anesthesia other than the topical kind to save on that.

Cost: $111. Savings: $604.

I also rescheduled my cleaning and combined that with the crown and will have that done the first week of January. At that point my insurance will pay. The only downside is that I have to be very careful what I eat and avoid crunchy foods on one side of my mouth. I think it's worth it since I'm saving $600.

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