Frugal dental work (especially for seniors)
Greetings, fearless hunters for frugality,
I'd kidded my regular silver-haired dentist for some time, asking when he planned to retire - hoping he'd delay, as he charged modest fees (though his office was about thirty miles away). He did, about three years ago.
Made a few visits to recently graduated dentist who'd set up practice in nearby village where I used to be minister. They asked if my work was on insurance or personally financed (think about $73.00 regular charge cost me $50.00).
A number of my teeth have fillings, several sport caps (one a gold one - that I've had for 35 years). Most of my molars are gone.
The local dental school, less than eight miles away, did an extraction in emergency - usually $32.00, but charged $75. for the "complicated" one - took over two hours, included drilling the jawbone. For another, they thought it too complicated - took me to the University dental department. Result: shorter time, perhaps some complication - fee $261.00.
Dental school recently evaluated me as regular patient - includng 180 degree x-ray - $60.00.
Recently did a scaling job (on only slightly over half of the original number of teeth) - removing calculus, including some periodontal work - digging down into gums to cleanse pockets of infection. Over 2 hours - $24.00.
The student who did the job said that I might have some pain after the freezing came out, in which case I should take (a pain relief caplet that starts with "T...") - I had only slight temporary discomfort. Thanked her for doing a capable, gentle job.
Several teeth had chunks broken off - two of them down near the gums. One had a cap, but most of the tooth under the cap eaten away, so it collected food every time that I ate. It was loose and I wiggled it a bit the day before the extraction. I heard a snap - and the cap came off (being held by only a slight connection).
The senior students extracted five teeth yesterday, under local anaesthetic. Not complicated - except hard to get hold of teeth when there's little showing above the gum line. Charge - $32.00 for the first tooth, $16.00 for each additional.
When they were writing the detailed receipt, $32.00 for the first, $16.00 for each additional, I said, "$96.00". They looked at me - how had I figured that so quickly? Simple - the 16 is half of 32, so 4 sixteens equal two 32s, or 3 -32s in all. Three 30s are 90, three twos are 6, total 96. The younger generation don't know but from calculators.
Out just before noon, only slight temporary discomfort when freezing came out. I had some milk in afternoon, soup at supper, block of cheese in evening (no bread), ice cream (without temperature problem) in late evening, peanut butter and jam sandwich after midnight.
There are some recently discovered cavities, so some fillings to do.
As part of the evaluation, their specialist dealing with dental plates looked at my mouth, asked me if I could afford a (xxx) car. I didn't quite hear what he said, so asked if he'd said, "Honda" or "Hyundai". Don't remember his answer, but then asked whether he meant new or used.
He had me frightened there for a while. Thought later that I should have remembered that "used car" isn't part of the vocabulary of the average dentist!
They've taken impressions, and two partial plates to be developed over the next few months.
Total, including the work done to date, estimated to be under $1,800.00.
As some have said previously - if you live near a dental school and need work done, that's a worthwhile place to go.
Happy hunting for frugality to all,