I measure time by how old my children are. My timeline can be like BD² (Before Second Kid’s Name That Starts With D…which can get tricky, since all of my boys’ names start with D, so this requires numerical designation after the D ) or AM (After kid’s name that starts with M) or …and so on.
The last time I went to the dentist it was AM but BD². So, between 9-13 years ago. I think M must have been less than a year. I needed a lot of work done back then but I’ve had no insurance and no money to get it done. I still don’t have money but I have some insurance. The ridiculous reality is that, despite being educated & having a shit-ton of experience (highly professional term not commonly used on resumes but should be) in many areas , the way my teeth look is severely limiting my employment opportunities and contributing to me being in poverty.
So, even though we’re living paycheck to paycheck (barely) and NEED food stamps to keep us fed, I decided to bite the bullet & get myself to the dentist to find out what the damage is and how much it’ll cost to fix it.
When I sat in the dentist’s chair, the dental assistance asked me the usual preliminary question. “How are you doing today?”
Typically socially-awkward me replied with ,”Nervous.” I meant to leave it at that but my brain & mouth don’t coordinate well, so out came my entire story about how mortified I was about the state of my mouth and ,”Ohmygod,please don’t judge me. My mother took me to the dentist ONCE during my entire childhood and let me drink 2 liters of soda every single day and I haven’t drank any soda in over a decade and make sure I take good care of what teeth I have and ….”
And on and on I went. I almost cried but didn’t. I think I mentioned something about coconut oil based toothpaste that I made myself and how the ingredients are actually exactly the same as my recipe for homemade deodorant. And clove oil. I know I talked about how much I love clove oil for killing my toothache pain, even though it makes me spasm and wretch like demons have possessed me and fear that Max von Sydow is going to come at me with a cross, chanting, “The power of Christ compels you!” like a broken record.
I was told this dental office was very nice. Nice,not meaning swanky but the way they treat patients. The dental assistant didn’t even hesitate to reassure me and let me know that they are not the judgey types.
Then the dentist came in.
Not quite like that but maybe he should think about offering that as a courtesy to patients.
It just so happens that the last time I saw the dentist, not as a dentist but just as a guy who lives in the same small town, he was at the school Halloween parade. Dressed as Daphne from Scooby-Doo. He made a very fine looking Daphne and it was very hard to focus on what he was saying to me without having the image of him wearing a short purple dress and a long red wig.
The first thing he said to me was, “I’m not going to yell at you,I promise!” . I’m guessing the sweet dental assistant took a minute to let him know, “Dude, this lady is a basket case. Be gentle.”
He was. I was relieved. He looked in my mouth and all the x-rays the assistant took and had to fill a yellow legal pad to write down everything I need to have done. But he was nice while doing it.
At the end of it all, I found out exactly what it will cost for me to have not just an awesome looking mouth but a healthy mouth . The healthy part is important. I don’t want to die early because I live in a country that thinks your mouth isn’t part of your body and therefore entirely unrelated to your overall health.
I know you wanna know how much,right?
The sad thing about this….
it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
$7,595. Yep. For this amount, I should get a lap dance from Daphne.
Dental care is a harsh reminder that we should have managed the money the tooth fairy gave us when we were kids instead of rushing out to spend it on things that were probably bad for our teeth.
I don’t have $7,595 to spend on my mouth right now but I can do a little bit at a time as I have the money. My insurance covers $1,200 of it (good) but I can’t do a payment plan for the rest. The only option this office has for a payment plan is to use Care Credit ,which seems like a good option but I was denied because I have zero credit history. I think I’d rather have that than bad credit history but still…it would be a nice option to have.
At least I have a game plan and this is a good start. I look forward to the day I can eat more than oatmeal and smile in public more.
[blog title seemed appropriate since my oldest son ( D¹ ) is reading Don Quixote and we’ve had many discussions lately revolving around the book… ]
UPDATED TO ADD: My friend Nichole started a fundraiser for my dental expenses. I’m all emotional and grateful about it (because that’s how I am). I appreciate every cent people are able to contribute <3