Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dentist frustrations

Today I go have a tooth pulled.

I've got so much frustration around my dental woes.

It's not just that my teeth have not been cared for.  I care a lot about them...knowing they are what enables me to eat, and maybe even smile at those I love.

But with age, and drugs for other conditions, and perhaps my sweet tooth which I inherited (of course I can blame that on genetics) and oh, genetics which gave me crooked teeth too...anyway, the dentist presented several options which I am considering.

I've received very good treatment for medical conditions since I retired and started having Medicare medical coverage.

There is virtually no dental care for elders.  You can purchase a private plan, which will pay for your cleanings and yearly X-rays...but the cost of most private plans is higher than paying the dentist directly.  At least the ones I've looked at.

So I asked my dentist about that, and she agreed that you have to be a very good shopper to get a dental plan which will help.  She told me all the questions to ask.

But before I even got to talk to a real person, I found I'd be paying for coverage for a year and not get any treatment at all, because of a "waiting period."  Thanks a lot.  Can I just call you my charity of choice?

I'd just as soon be my own charity of choice.

The real hooker is that my depleted savings won't cover all the treatment my dentist wants to do.  She says it needs to be done. 

So I sit in a quandary.  Cried a lot too.  Friends told me good advice for free clinics that treat folks who don't have any savings.  But since I still do have a little tucked away, I'm not eligible for the free clinics.

A catch 22 situation for sure.

I could go to other dentists, as I've already moved from my first to a second one...and paid for an initial visit for both of them...and I would pay for that initial visit at any new dentists as well.  And they all charge basically the same rates, give or take a few dollars.  And they all are pretty nice people.  They make an effort to make folks feel comfortable, cause they know dental care produces anxiety.

So within days of this quandary, I had a filling fall out, while thinking about and not deciding what to do.

I took the little piece of filling in, got some more X-rays to see if the root should have a root canal as one option, and it didn't look good.  So that tooth is to go bye-bye today.  I couldn't decide the other day when the dentist examined me.  I came home and cried again.  I had to pay another dental visit and she had given me some kind of discount.  These visits are a bit less than $100 each.

Do you know how many pots I have to sell to pay each of her visits?  They average around $20 retail.

I decided I needed to get the tooth out as soon as possible.  I may have to cancel the cleaning that I scheduled next month...which would cost around $200 with $12 toothpaste, a floride treatment and I don't know what else that is recommended.

Living on Social Security and savings, and occasional pottery sales, this person's needs have just become incredibly stressful.

Financial acumen has never been my strong point.  But I refuse to wallow in self-pity.  I'm going to just keep on doing what I am good at doing.  And I'll blog about the dentist whenever I feel like it!


Elaine of Kalilily said...

I found a dental practice that offers a "membership plan" -- $100 a year for two cleanings and xray. I also opened a Care Credit account, which for more expensive procedures has interest free charging for from 6 months to two years, depending on the amount. I found that individual dentists are more expensive than"dental practices." I also found that there are always less expensive versions of crowns and partials than they try to sell you, but you have to ask. They are not as cosmetically perfect as porcelain, but they function just fine. Also, sometimes oral surgeons are covered under medicare when you have to have a tooth pulled.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Great information, Elaine. I hope you go over to Time Goes By and give the same comment to Ronni Bennett's readers. I'll check around for this kind of set-up!