Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Second Opinion

So remember back when I was lamenting that I should almost just go toothless (OK, just one tooth) and get a neck tattoo because I was in a dental predicament that was both uncertain and likely to be expensive no matter which way it shook out? Basically, the dentist I saw thought maybe I had a fractured root, which may or may not have survived a root canal, and if it did, it would cost a lot, and if it didn't and I had it extracted, a bridge or implants would also cost a lot. It was a no win situation. And I had no insurance.

I went into hardcore research mode got poking around awhile back and found that the COBRA subsidy under the stimulus plan that allows those on COBRA (such as those who have been laid off) to pay just 35% of their health care premiums for the first 9 months instead of 102% (as it used to be, full premium plus the 2% for admin fees - good luck paying that while unemployed) out of the gate, applies not just to medical insurance but to dental insurance as well. I had to dig around and call around and send information to my former employer because they'd initially been told by someone that it didn't apply. (If you are reading this and in that boat or just curious, shoot me an email, and I'll send you what I sent to my former employer back in March; the documents aren't exactly crystal clear, but you can draw some conclusions.) So, while I have no medical insurance (due to my location), I do at least have dental insurance because I can afford the COBRA premiums thanks to the subsidy. I won't be political here, but I will say I'm thankful.

One of my first orders of business, once I was done doggy paddling through the murky waters essentially on my own, was to go to another dentist for a second opinion. I'm so glad I didn't let the first guy yank out my bad tooth with the myriad of expensive decisions that would eventually follow (not good to just leave a hole, screws things up) because this new dentist has been so reasonable about trying different things that are less dramatic and less expensive (even with dental insurance, costs can get a little nuts, so it's a concern). Since it's not just a sensitivity issue that prescription toothpaste (given to me free) can cure, the next guess is that it's the filling I got sometime in 6th grade around the time I went to a friend's bat mitzvah (I remember that but don't remember what I had for breakfast, oy!), which would make that filling pretty damn old. I didn't realize that fillings often have to be replaced after 5 to 15 years, but according to Google, they do. (Seriously, click on the Google thing, and next time someone asks a question they didn't need to ask you, you'll have a witty retort.)

And so, at the end of this lengthier than I intended post, I'm happy to share that I did my homework and got that to which I'm entitled in terms of my dental insurance and also in terms of a likely much better avenue to strut on down with this tooth. It pays to seek a second opinion through research or plain stubbornness and not accepting an answer at face value (or both).

I'm not as happy to share that I have to go soon to have a needle poked into my gums (I come near passing out sometimes, seriously, seeing white, feeling pukey) so that I can have my face drilled. Or that I get to go back again later in the week for the same in a different quadrant of my mouth. Still, that's just my first opinion. The second is that it will be nice to be all fixed. Well, if this works... Stay tuned.

9 comments:

  1. good for you for not giving up and doing all that research!! I'm impressed and glad you can get it fixed at a reasonable price. I just got a root canal--the needle part is scary but then there's no pain so it's not so bad.

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  2. I can sympathize about dental work. One summer I had 13 cavities filled. I still make appointments at 8 am so I don't call and cancel. Glad you got the subsidy too. Sending good thoughts that your pain will subside without too much invasion from the dentist. :-)

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  3. Isn't it funny how we work and save and spend all kinds of money on something that is simply so awful and painful? Weird.

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  4. I'm so glad you are able to get it fixed without filing for bankruptcy!!

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  5. Glad you got that second opinion! Good luck!

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  6. oh ouch!!!! i do so not like dentists...

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  7. I am SO bad about Dentists - fortunately, I have amazing teeth. Coffee stained, to be sure, but healthy and undented by cavity or other ill. I don't envy you your coming experience - but the thing is that it WILL be over and you WILL be better, and that's all that really counts. And good job you, getting the insurance thing handled. You're good.

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  8. I had a VERY similar situation happen. One dentist told me it would take $3500-$5000 to fix my tooth (root canal and bridge, etc) and I went to a different dentist who fixed everything (didn't need root canal or bridge) for $350. Woohoo!!!!!
    Good luck with all the work. I dispise going to the dentist.

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  9. This doesn't have to do with your blog, but as I read through them I keep reading all the time that has past since you have quit smoking. I feel the same way. It has been over a year for me. April 2, 2008. It's like a birthday for me. Call me crazy, but I just love thinking about the money I have saved(I was a pack a day smoker)and not going out and and finding crazy times and places to sneak a smoke!!!!!!

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