Many of you may have had a toothache at some point in your lives. I certainly have. Many of you may also know how expensive it can be when something goes wrong with your teeth. Even if you have some dental insurance, even if it’s good insurance, after the procedure is done and the dust has settled, you probably will be left with a huge portion of the bill for your very own.
Because of this, in the past you may have (like me) chosen the path of least resistance (read: least cost) in dealing with equivocal tooth issues, like a root canal. Now, sometimes there is nothing you can do: the tooth needs attention NOW as evidenced by the relentless, screaming 10 (on a scale of 1-10) pain. $1300 to make it stop? A bargain! Have at it!
At other times, however, if the pain eventually subsides, you may decide to take a watchful waiting stance (especially if your budget does not allow for an effortless expenditure for a large, unexpected medical bill that month)…and “baby” your tooth.
This involves trying to remember not to chew on that side, or at least avoiding nuts, seeds, raw carrots, and so forth, avoiding cold and hot foods and liquids (especially cold!!). It probably also involves lots of ibuprofen, and potentially, orajel. Arnica and oil of cloves may also be useful during this denial…er, watchful waiting stage. All are certainly much cheaper in the short-term than a root canal, or even (god forbid) an extraction.
These tactics have helped me “baby” my errant teeth for about 3 years now. Except for one of them, which definitely did not respond to the conservative treatments today, and over the course of 3 hours I decided that it was time to consult the professional.
That would be the one I consulted 3 years ago. Now, years and years ago (like, more than a decade) when I found myself in a similar situation, the staff at the endodontist’s office that I called (who didn’t know me from a hole in the wall) couldn’t have been more sympathetic and helpful, and had me in the chair that day. So today, I (foolishly, it turned out) expected the same treatment from the (different) provider that I consulted for this tooth (having moved too far away to go back to prior one).
Caring health professionals? NOT! The secretary that took my call couldn’t have been less interested or sympathetic toward my predicament. The best she could do in an emergency was to give me an appointment 2 days from now.
After I hung up the phone, I was pretty disgusted with the way my problem had been handled. I called a different endodontist practice and the secretary was the polar opposite of the first. She was very sympathetic, very concerned about getting me in as soon as I wanted to be seen, fully assuring me that if I couldn’t stand the pain she would get me in immediately.
Need I say which provider I chose? (Hint: not the first one!). After all, if they weren’t concerned about me today, what would be different about Thursday? I didn’t want to support their dental practice in any way (root canals are NOT CHEAP!) so I put my money where my mouth was (literally) and took my business elsewhere.
Sometimes, we can make small choices that make us feel better. It still hurts; it will still cost a lot, but…I do feel better. 🙂