Sticker Shock

November 4, 2003

I’ve never thought about my teeth being treated like gold or detroit steel, but after going to the dentist yesterday, I realized that my teeth are going to cost me. I’ve had dental problems since I was 3, when I had a whole mouthful of those silver caps on my teeth. As I got older, I kept getting silver fillings, root canals, and just a distaste for the whole dental racket.

I’ve had nothing but good dentists, so I’m not an anti-dentite . As a child, I spent more time in dentist offices than I did in libraries, so I grew to despise the industry. Actually not the industry, but with the dental health insurers. Walking out of the dental office yesterday, I realized that my insurance is only paying about 15% of what I need to have corrected. None of my problems are minor problems, we’re talking about bridges, crowns, periodontal disease prevention, etc. My total cost, after the insurance pittance, will be a little under the base cost for a new Hyundai Accent .

Now my teeth aren’t rotting or look too bad visibly, it’s the invisible things that get me. Gums, back teeth, blah blah blah. Things that have always been a problem. I guess I’m looking at this like a medical procedure…where I wish it was covered as such. My medical insurance is great: good co-pays, good pharmacy plan, etc. But the dental absolutely sucks…or gums it.

So I’m going to talk to our HR people to find out, if there is anyway to change a restriction. Then I’m going to call Capital One about their dental cost plan, where after they laugh at my credit problems, I’ll probably have to contact my credit union. All of this is pushing back the need for a newer car, starting house savings, and some other needs. I thank God I don’t have TMJ or I’d probably have to sell a kidney.