The least expensive route to taking care of your teeth is routine care. If you keep your teeth clean, floss regularly, and don’t let a lot of sugar (or any!) stay on them for any length of time, decay won’t get the chance to take hold of your teeth.
As I’ve written about before, I didn’t do this. At times in my life I didn’t take care of my teeth, and now I’m paying the price. I will for the rest of my life. The problems just get more expensive, and the solutions are never as good as the teeth that God gave you.
Dental work is a luxury
This past week I finally got a new crown to replace one I broke two and a half months ago. Getting the crown replaced was expensive, both in time and money:
- A visit to my primary dentist (a 40-minute drive one way) who referred me to an endodontist because the x-rays of the area were concerning.
- A visits to an endodontist (a 75-minute drive one way), to retreat the root canal on that tooth. (My dentist’s concerns were valid.) This involved checking the tooth and putting in a paste that got rid of the infection.
- A second visit to the endodontist to complete the retreatment. This appointment and the other ate up about 10 hours, nearly a tank of gas, and $600 after insurance.
- Another visit to my primary dentist to prepare the tooth again for another crown. Since the mill they had might not get this tooth right, they put a temporary crown on and sent the impressions away to another service that would make the crown.
- A third visit to my primary dentist — five appointments total! — to fit and install the crown. Another 6 hours between these two appointments, and another $300 after insurance.
And after that last appointment, my dentist said this:
“Enjoy your new crown!”
That was the first time I’ve had a dentist tell me to enjoy my dental work. But that got me thinking about all of this work I’ve had. Yes, it’s my fault for getting to this point, but getting the dental work to fix up my mistakes is a luxury. I’m sure that there are many people that do not have the means to get this kind of work done.
So, having sophisticated dental work done isn’t fun, quick, or cheap, but once it’s done, it’s something to be thankful for. Enjoy it.
(And, of course, do what you can to minimize future work.)