By: Revanche

Dental care providers: $401, Me: $0

February 4, 2010

Thank goodness for COBRA with the attached dental insurance.  The score isn’t really zero, of course, I don’t count my premiums when I’m looking at these out of pocket expenses. But to stay really honest, I’m paying around $20/month for coverage right now, and haven’t paid a deductible.

I’ve been experiencing severe generalized dental pain since Monday, and it’s only getting worse. I’ve seen the dentist ($100, covered by insurance), the oral surgeon ($301, covered by insurance), have an appointment with my physician tomorrow which WILL cost me a great deal (at least $45 to start), and will have to shell out a cool $350 on top of that for a nightguard.

[Side Note: Examining my receipt, I noticed that insurance still hasn’t paid the balance for my cleaning from more than 6 weeks ago. No wonder offices hate dealing with insurance.]

All this because there’s nothing to be done dentally or surgically as far as my dental care providers are concerned.  They are advising that I find a way to relax because apparently, being stressed is what’s causing my body to react in ways that are ultimately self-destructive, painful and stressful.  *sigh*  Doing it to yourself, self.

MoneyFunk suggested a *fun* solution of drinking applying whisky to the affected area but sadly, that just made the teeth even more sensitive. Darn, we were really hoping that’d be the answer.  ($15 for whisky and ice cream bars.  Shoulda told the cashier it’d been a rough day, hee.)

I promise I’m not faking it so I can hide in bed for hours in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. I really want to get out and about, but this pain is excruciating. In comparison to the pain I’ve had over the years with my medical condition that was way high on the pain scale, this pain is much worse; it keeps me up at night and fogs my brain. I hate the feeling of fogged brain. I hate starving even more – my teeth can only tolerate liquids (of varying temperatures) and soft foods like mashed potatoes which isn’t enough.  *dreams of Lemony Luna Bars and steak dinners dance in my head*  *Oh, and craving sushi. Again.*

In any case, it’s rather ironic that when I need to be at my best and fulfilling earning potential, I’m only barely making it to medical appointments and emerging with no real answers.

Time to count my blessings of current health insurance coverage and … yeah.  That’s all I’ve got right now.  That and a bushel of OWWWW.

13 Responses to “Dental care providers: $401, Me: $0”

  1. Anonymous says:

    have you thought about going to cvs and buying a cheap night guard for $10? I used to have an expensive one too but then my new puppy chewed it up the next week. I’ve gone with cheap ones ever since. It’s not custom-made, but it does its job.

  2. Hope you feel better soon! I’ve been living without health insurance for a few months now and I am hoping nothing comes up. If it does I hope right when the dental school at my university is offering free services!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Even Amazon has “do it yourself” nightguards that will do the trick. I would try an inexpensive one first before jumping in to buy the custom made version.

  4. oooh hope you are feeling better soon! Poor you!

  5. Ginger says:

    Yeah, the nightguard will make a huge difference. I had the same problem a few years ago (general dental pain, no cavities, etc.) and they gave me a nightguard and things got a lot better.

    Nightguards keep you from grinding and clenching your teeth. Clenching and grinding make your teeth hurt, more sensitive, and also give you bad headaches and unrestful sleep.

    If you can’t afford to get a custom made one (best choice) then go for one of the cheaper pharmacy ones the other posters have mentioned.

    The key is to keep wearing it every night. Eventually you will adjust to the weird feeling!

    I hope you feel better soon.

  6. I have spent many thousands of dollars on my teeth over the last few years (no insurance). Apparently, all the baby boomers’ teeth are cracking after years of jaw clenching. So try to stop now–before you start needing root canals and worse down the line.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Yikes, hope your teeth get better soon. I had to get a night guard last summer after my dentist noticed I’d been grinding my poor teeth on the right side of my mouth, but after consulting with my insurance company, I only had to pay $79 for it when they originally quoted me $400 something. The insurance lady said I had a really good plan. Anyway, the dentist said my grinding had to do with stress, but oy, when people tell me I need to stress out less, that makes me stress out even more sometimes. It’s not something you can just turn on and off.

  8. I just went to the dentist too. I am SO glad that my work insurance pays for most of it. Was almost $300 for just a clean-up, x-rays and whatnot. Eeep.

    Hope it feels better soon. If not, just drink more whiskey. 😉

  9. Revanche says:

    @Anon 8:38: Yes, but they don’t come with Novacaine. They hurt from the lightest touch so I don’t dare do a boil ‘n’ bite lest I pass out.

    @SeeJaneGetRich: Thanks! And have my fingers crossed that you’re all good well after school! I can’t ever go without health ins. due to preexisting conditions.

    @Anon 11:04: Would LOVE to save the $$ but it’s too late now. Scared of the pain to come even WITH novacaine.

    @notesfromthefrugaltrenches: Thanks!

    @Ginger: I bet you’re right, I have really intense nightmares and wake up sore and tired, so I can only imagine how clenched my poor teeth are.
    Luckily, I used to wear a retainer and that didn’t bother me so I hope this feels the same.

    @Frugal Scholar: Just when I thought I couldn’t be more scared/worried…! 🙂

    @Kathleen: Yikes, thank goodness your insurance covered so much of it! LOL, yeah I hate the “take a vacation” prescription. Don’t you think I would relax more if I could? (Ok, two years ago, no I wouldn’t have, but now? Oh yes. Yes I would.)

    @The Asian Pear: Yowza! I know, the consult alone for the oral srgn was 195! Crazy.
    I’m gonna be an alcoholic before this is over! 🙂

  10. Don’t do the cheapie OTC nightguard. The professional version is worth the cost. Call a few dentists and check around on the price. I think I only paid a couple hundred bucks for mine.

    Bruxism. Ogod i think i’ve become the reigning expert on this quirk. Here’s what: three hundred bucks is SOOOO cheap compared to a crown, two crowns, three(!!!) crowns. For most people, the mouth guard works pretty well. It doesn’t make you stop bruxing, but it does help. At least it protects your teeth and eases the discomfort in your jaw, ears, and head.

    When my doc suggested this contraption, I said, “Are you nuts? I already have insomnia…how d’you think I’m going to sleep with a piece of plastic stuck in my mouth?” He looked rueful and said, “Yeah, I know: I thought it would keep me awake all night, too.”

    Amazingly, though, the gadget makes you feel so much more comfortable that you end up sleeping better.

    One of my friends wore hers 24-7 for a while. She said that after several weeks (months?) of wearing it even in the daytime, she actually stopped clenching her teeth altogether. Most people find the clenching comes and goes — recurrences may be associated with periods of increased stress, but not always.

    Try some aspirin or ibuprofen. A hot pack or heating pad on your sore face or ringing ears may help. Also, sometimes a cold pack helps more than heat — it’s inflammation from your strained muscles that’s causing the pain, and so just as a combination of heat and cold will help a strained ankle, for some people cold is soothing.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  11. eemusings says:

    I really hope you feel better soon! Having just got over a couple of illnesses, I’m really appreciating good health at the moment. And they still don’t know what’s causing your pain?

  12. Revanche says:

    @Funny About Money: After swiping the card for a grand total of $500, I’m thrilled to hear that you’re advocating the professional nightguard. But still, I never would have held still long enough to boil ‘n’ bite. Would have passed out first.

    I’m less worried about using the ‘guard since I used to wear a retainer comfortably.

    The contraption is ordered, I’ve ratcheted the meds down to just naproxen from all RX-grade acetaminophen, ibuprofen, indomethacin, and 10mgs Hydrocodone. You were right about varying temperature compresses, they helped a little. Holding out so far.

    @eemusings: All dental folks contend that it’s stress-related bruxism, my doc thinks it’s autoimmune disease related to my recent cold. I think everyone sees what their specialty dictates, to a small degree. We’re taking a whole body approach now. 🙂

  13. Money Funk says:

    Thanks for the link luv.

    The fact it burned makes it sound like a cut. And I apologize it didn’t work. But really, the *fun* Whiskey was suppose to numb the nerve pain.
    But the fact it’s getting worse sounds like maybe you have a hairline crack in your tooth (grinding, possibly)? *sigh* Which would probably hurt if air passes through (like severe sensitive tooth pain)

    Tooth pain is evil! I am very sad to hear you are in such pain. And I hope, without further financial pain, that a solution/diagnosis comes quick! Hoping all is well very soon!

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