Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wednesday - Sorting out the Dental Situation and the First Day of Summer

Thank you, all, for being so supportive of me as I went on and on about the dental situation.  I believe I might have over-reacted a bit.  I had felt overwhelmed by all of the recommended procedures and the costs, especially.  I had taken a quick look at the detailed list of recommended procedures the dentist had given me, that first day, saw numbers like $2,600, $2,000, etc. per tooth, did a quick mental tally, saw that it added up to at least $10,000 and felt stunned.  I just clutched the estimate and my antibiotics prescription and practically ran out of the clinic! Later, I added up the costs with a calculator and it came to $10,890.  I wondered if the dentist was just trying to get as much money as he could out of me!

The bit about bone grafts needed for the implants and my radiation oncologist voicing his concern about bone necrosis got me even more worried.  Then came all the drama to get the medical clearance.  The last straw, in a way, was the appointment for the deep cleaning ahead of the extractions.  I wasn't expecting that, at all.  I felt very confused and didn't know what to do. 

Earlier, when I went to see the dentist for the second time for additional antibiotics, I did tell him that I only wanted the extractions done, now, and wanted to wait on the implants until I can change my insurance coverage.  He said something to the effect that he had given me his recommendation and left it at that.  At the time, I was still dealing with a tooth ache, so I wasn't thinking too clearly.

Last night, when I said my prayers, I prayed for guidance on this matter.  Today, I felt calmer.  I called my insurance and I verified what was covered and what was not (some of the deep cleaning is covered; what dentist has listed on his estimate was the part that was not covered - mostly medications, apparently); extractions are covered for $15 per tooth (but I am also being charged $15 by dentist - perhaps the difference between his regular charges and what insurance covers?  But $15 per extraction seems reasonable to me and I will not quibble about that).  What is not covered are the implants and implants-related procedures and the crown listed for one tooth.  I will have to pay out of pocket for those (and they are the more expensive items).

I asked the insurance customer service person about getting a second opinion and what I needed to do if I chose to change dentists (I have to ask new dentist if his clinic accepts my coverage, first of all, and then, call the insurance to have them transfer me to new dentist).   My one cousin's dentist is out of the network, so any work he does won't be covered at all.  I also got another cousin's dentist's information (he's a new dentist for her, too, assigned to her by her insurance and she hasn't had any work done by him, yet).  I didn't call yet, though.  Maybe I'll call and see if he's in the network or not.  
But now that I've calmed down a bit, I think I will go to my currently assigned dentist for the deep cleaning appointment, ask him why the deep cleaning has to take place before the extractions (maybe it is to ensure I'll do the deep cleaning as opposed to getting the extractions done and then, disappearing!) and take it from there.  If I can get the deep cleaning and extractions done for now, it will all come to under $1,000 and I can manage that.  In October, when it is open enrollment again, I can look into a different dental plan with more coverage.  It won't go into effect till January, however.

In other news, I went to the office again, today.  There was a cultural festival in the courtyard of the building where I work to celebrate Caribbean heritage with music, limbo dancing, and a catered buffet lunch to which we were invited.  My supervisor and I went together and stood in line to be served rice and beans, chicken, fried plantain, cole slaw (don't think that's very Caribbean!) with a slice of caramel frosted cake and a coconut tart for dessert!

Caribbean Lunch
It was very good.  Not spicy hot, but very nicely flavored.  Especially welcome because I hadn't taken a packed lunch, today, only an orange.  I had intended to eat a chicken salad and crackers snack kit that I had at my desk.  Free Caribbean food was better.

To make up for that big lunch, I had a salad for dinner:

Salad Dinner
Lettuce, roast chicken breast, grated carrot, and some canned mandarin segments with bottled dressing.  Just right for a warm summer night.  Yogurt for dessert.
Daughter said there was an earthquake near Berkeley this afternoon and she felt it while she was at a meeting.  Fortunately, it was a relatively minor quake of 3.0 magnitude.   But it was centered on the Hayward fault which goes directly under Berkeley, so I worry any time there is an earthquake in the area. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Getting my dental situation sorted out, somewhat
- Free lunch!
- Today's earthquake near Berkeley was relatively minor and daughter is OK
- Emails from a friend
- The pharmacy refilled one of my medications without any problems!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Go to the office - DONE
- Call cousin's dentist to make an appointment for a second opinion  - NOT DONE/Changed my mind
- Call dental insurance - DONE
- Call the oncologist's office - DONE
- Go to the bank - Thursday
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Water the garden - DONE
- Change my bed sheets and remake bed - Thursday
- Laundry - Thursday
- Pharmacy - DONE

I didn't get all of my to do list done; I went to the Caribbean festival instead of going to the bank during my lunch, today.  

Thursday's To Do List:
- Office
- Bank
- Farmers Market
- Change bed sheets
- Laundry
- Grocery store for milk
- Pick up Thai food for dinner
- Pick up daughter from the airport
- Hug a daughter!  :)

How was your Wednesday and first day of summer?


  1. I strongly believe that prayer calms you and your blog today reflects the result. Your plan for your teeth is a good one and works for your situation.

    Goodness that was a big lunch! Can't go wrong with salad that has chicken and madorin oranges.

    Enjoy having your daughter home.

    1. Thank you, Sandy. Mostly, I pray for good health - mine, my daughter's, other relatives', my friends' (including my blog friends), for our safety, for the departed loved ones, etc. But occasionally, I pray for help with a specific situation and it really does seem to help. I'm forever second guessing myself, so, sometimes, it helps to take a deep breath and say, make a decision and go with it. :)

  2. You really have to trust your dentist because it's hard to judge what's going on in your mouth for yourself. Fortunately, I have a dentist I trust and don't feel like I'm being taken advantage of when he does work. In particular, I went to him when I was having a lot of mouth pain when he could have done all kinds of work that I would have gladly accepted, but he referred me somewhere else because he didn't think my pain was coming from my teeth. He was right. I do believe most dentist are honest, but there are some who try to pad the work that needs done. From the very little I know, your dentist seems to be suggesting standard procedure. However, it is very, very expensive.

    I'm glad you feel calmer about the whole situation. Good luck.

    1. Thank you, Live and Learn. For years, I had a dentist I trusted - he had been my step-father's friend and I went miles out of my way to be seen by him. But then, he retired and since then, I've been going to which ever dentist my insurance at the time assigned me to. This dentist is new to me and I don't know if I trust him, yet.

  3. I am so sorry for all the trouble you are having with that tooth.. The dentist seems "mighty un-cooperative to me".. I would be upset that he , just walked out of the room, and didn't try to explain or comfort you on this matter.. I think , as soon as possible, I would try to find me another dentist, for when I might need one.
    Hope you have a good day..hugs.

    1. Thank you, Judy. Well, I certainly didn't have an instant rapport with him, but that might be just me. I think I will go ahead and get the extractions done and then, take it from there. Another dentist will mean getting a new medical clearance, I'm sure, and it seems like a lot to go through, again.

    2. Oh bless your heart... Will be praying for you.. Maybe once you get the extractions done. It will hold off , until you can get new insurance [and be ready for a different]
      take care..

    3. Thank you, Judy. I'm sure it will work out OK. I hope!

  4. I'm glad you're not feeling as overwhelmed today Bless. The deep clean intrigues me. It's the sort of description I'd give to the carpet not my teeth. Surely a clean is a clean? The only cleaning my dentist lists is a scale and polish at £60 and even that's included in my dental plan.

    I've been going to my dentist for 20 years - she can be a bit no nonsense but is good with Amy and Thomas and I trust her which is the main thing. She wouldn't clean my teeth for 12 months after the HA, it was something to do with possibly making the gums bleed and infection.

    If it were me I'd honestly be inclined to say 'pull them out' pay the $30 and have done with it. I hope whatever route you decide to go down that it all goes well and stops the anguish and pain it's caused you over the past few weeks. xx

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. Deep cleaning requires going below the gum line to remove tartar buildup and apparently they "plane" your teeth to even any rough spots. My teeth have been neglected while I dealt with other issues, so, I guess it is something I need to do. It sounds like the least invasive procedure they'll do and if I get it done before the extractions, I'll have the cleanest teeth to be extracted! :D

  5. Nathalie, I am so sorry, but I went to publish your comment and deleted it, instead! :o

    But thank you, so much, for reading up on it and telling me about it (the deep cleaning). I read about it, too, after I read your comment, and saw that it involved 2 visits. I haven't read the opinions on doing it before or after extractions. But, maybe before might be better, as it might minimize additional infections. The fewer bacteria to get into those cavities left by the extractions, the better. Also, it will give me an opportunity to see how gentle the dentist is and so forth, too.

    Once again, I am so sorry for deleting your comment! I tried to recover it, but wasn't able to! :(

    1. But I was able to copy Nathalie's comment:

      "Bless, I read up on deep cleanings last night and all the sources I've read said to prepare yourself that it will take 2 appointments to do the whole procedure because they numb you but they don't want to numb your whole mouth at once. I remembered having had one done and indeed it took 2 appointments.

      As for having to wait for that to be completed before doing an extraction, the sources I read were about 1/2 in favor, 1/2 saying that it didn't matter and wasn't necessary.

      You need to do what's right for you, but don't be afraid to ask questions, push back and say no. The best advocate you have for your care is yourself. Good luck!"

      Yay! I'm glad I was able to copy and paste it!

  6. I do hope that you can get your dental work done without bankrupting yourself! We have no coverage and I find that dental treatment is very expensive and also I find that if I have an inspection after cleaning, the dentist (who seems to be the 6th different one over the last few years and I still miss the one I used to have) suggests treatment that may or may not be necessary. Last time the latest dentist wanted to fill in a couple of "dents" on the side of two teeth. I said I'd think about it, which is what I said when a previous one had some other strange idea to make money out of me.

    Well, Bless, if you need complicated stuff like implants, the most economical option is to go to somewhere like Bulgaria where dental tourism is very much the thing these days. They are experts in all the procedures. Of course the travel to Sofia would be expensive and rather tiring. I wonder if there is anywhere in the Caribbean where dental tourism is successful?

    1. One of my friends has friends in Canada who come down every year to go over the border into Mexico to get their dental work done! A lot of people I know get their dental work done when they visit Sri Lanka, once a year, so so. Actually, air fare there and back would be cheaper than what this dentist wants to charge me for one tooth!


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