Monday, October 3, 2011

The worst dental experience of my life... and I wasn't even in the chair.

If the title doesn't give everything away, my husband's visit to the dentist didn't go as planned. We knew he was going in with one cavity... and that a deep cleaning would be in order, but the damage was far more than either of us has imagined. We had around $650 set aside for the dental work and that's won't nearly be enough.

He needed 3 inlays or onlays.( I'm not really too sure since it was a lot to take in right there on the spot... especially since they were worried 2 of them were going to be root canals... something they wouldn't really know until they started drilling.) and on top of the 3 inlays/root canal possibilities he also needed 4 fillings that shouldn't be ignored... and a deep cleaning...

The other 5 fillings we were told could wait till January... but only if we decided to bump up our dental plan...

Yup, here's where I'm kicking myself. When we got married we had the option of adding SCB to my work health plans, and we did... we just didn't sign up for the expensive dental PPO plan because money was tight when we made the decision (Before SCB got a job and paid back his folks).

We knew there was one cavity but since I've never had a cavity before, I didn't know how bad it could get so we made the decision to stay on with the cheaper dental plan that covers cleanings and visits (and reduced rates for larger dental work) because we were a one income family.

Of course hindsight is 20-20 and if I had known he'd find a good job, I would have grabbed the PPO just to be on the safe side.

Anyways, back to the dentist visit. After the shocking news I asked what our insurance covered and they brought in the finance girl.

The inlays would be $850 a pop... if he needed a root canal $1,710.... with insurance. The deep cleaning would be $420... and a filling would be $160-$180 depending on where they were located...

We asked about cheaper options and what types of materials were included with our insurance, but the lady advised against going with the silver (which was included) since these were my husband's back teeth, "aka" the major chewing teeth and it wouldn't hold up... and if it didn't the next time it would end up being a root canal if it wasn't already now. The middle option for porcelain or something like that would have been around $450 to $550 a tooth... and it was also unadvised because they tend to chip a lot.. and since its his back teeth, we'd be back there soon re-doing it. So somehow we ended up with the $850 option and I don't even remember what they said they were making it out of.

Essentially they were quoting us $3,600-$4,500... before the other 5 fillings were even brought up. 

I really wished I wasn't as taken aback as I was by all the work that needed to be done because I would have asked more questions about the materials and I would have been able to make a better decision but with the hubby in the chair, haggling over materials and other stuff just wouldn't have worked out so well (he was already guilt ridden and really sad that it was so bad...)

They got to work and I just walked around the town center and waited. (my friend drove by to keep me company cause she was in the area). They did all the drilling today and sealed it with some composite replacements for the time being while the molds are made. Thankfully, the 2 problem areas were caught before the root canal stage so we just had to pay for 3 inlays/onlays, the cleaning he will have in 2 weeks (when he goes back in to get the inlays put in), and the 4 fillings that couldn't wait till next year. If we would have waited till January to change insurance plans and then deal with it, we would be looking at root canals for sure.

all in all, $3,600 for dental work... and we still have 5 fillings to do.

As i sat in their office, I asked about short term financing options and I sold myself to Wells Fargo for 0% interest for 12 months. I just couldn't stomach pulling the money from our emergency fund...

Essentially, all the money we had ear marked for the Roth IRA already, and all the money we were planning to send to it will be diverted to the Dental work... Essentially we are going to go back to our pre-marriage budget. We are going to forgo fun money, giving, and all extras except for $60 every two weeks. We decided that date nights are important to us and our newly forming marriage and this way we can have a little buffer in the budget...

Before we enacted our moratorium on spending, we picked up a water pick set at costco that also has an electric tooth brush attachment to help with his and my personal dental care so this doesn't happen again. I'll be posting a new bare bones budget for the most part but other than my mom's birthday dinner, we aren't going to be spending much money...

Bare Bones Budget to come in another post.


  1. That is so much money! I can't even imagine.

  2. I'm sorry to read this, I did have some fears because you said it had been a very long time since K went to the dentist. Maybe consider it an emergency situation and use the money with that thought. Once his teeth are in good shape he will be able to work to keep them that way for years to come. Try to think of it as an investment. Hard to do, I realize.

  3. Dentists are truly getting over! My mom went in for a deep cleaning and she knew she needed to get some work done. She asked them for a quote. $21k! Now my mom's teeth aren't that bad, AND she has insurance. It's so ridiculous. I hope it doesn't hurt SCB as much as it hurts your wallet.

  4. This is insane! How is this even possible!? Surely you can say "thanks for your quote, I'm going to shop around for a competitive price"