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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Quite a while back I lost a back molar filling that was ages old. Well I ignored it perhaps too long.

My dentist that I used to have, who I absolutely adored, had to retire at a really young age due to chronic back pain. Standing all day with your arms outstretched leaning over people, even with a back support, just wiped her out.

I finally connected with another new dentist today(yesterday). I got the full spread of torpedoes, uh, xrays and he found some things that I was not aware of that will need to be addressed. The big issue though is the back molar. He said he is not sure yet what it will take to save that and won't know exactly until he gets in there and grinds back the decay. That sounds reasonable to me and he is well respected and I got several refferals for him. He has an outstanding manner and enthusiasm too which helps.

So the deal is, fill or root canal and crown or pull the tooth. If it requires a root canal and crown that is a whopping $1825. If he can fill it without the root canal its peanuts. He did say he could extract it and that cost is also peanuts. I don't have any missing teeth so this would be the first if I decide to get him to pull it. Looking at my xrays he had high praise for my previous dentist. He said she had done some outstanding work.
My impression of that is it takes somebody good to recognize the good work of somebody else like that and to go so far as to mention it as well. I went ahead and had the pre-prep done which is a thorough cleaning before they start grinding on my teeth. The hygenist that cleaned my teeth was excellent and very pleasing to look at too so I was pleasantly distracted. I have been to dentists in the past that felt like I was being
tortured which is why I am always leery of having to establish a new relationship.

So I went in search of dental insurance and was advised by multiple dentists in my area to talk to Delta Dental. I got all the info. You pay the $42 premium for 6 months before they will cover simple fillings or extractions and then its only at 30 percent.I wind up paying $252 to get 50 dollars of coverage. Even if I pre-paid my whole annual premium which I can do, it wouldn't offset the 6 month and 12 month wait which seems
crazy to me but that is how they roll apparently. If it requires a crown I would have to pay a year premium first and they cover 50 percent of crowns. I don't think I should let this issue go for a year. Regardless, if I did I would pay $504 in premium to get around $900 in coverage. That is something at least. Also, if somebody has a lot of work done
their total annual pay out is capped at $1500.

One of the people in the dentists office just said to put $40 or $50 back each month and finance my own dental plan considering how lousy all these dental insurance companies are.

The big issue is not knowing on the filling versus crown and by the time I know the dentist has already exposed the situation and it can't just be left. It will have to be completed. If I go ahead and it requires the crown its going to be a painful expense. My prior dentist did a root canal and crown on the same tooth on the other side 5 or so years ago and I think the total on that came to maybe 6 or 7 hundred dollars. I don't understand why these have gone up this much in 5 years. It can be spread out over a couple of months but that is still 900 bucks a month out of my pocket to do it now. I can pray for a filling. I have no hot or cold sensitivity at all so that is at least a hopeful sign maybe.

I am not sure what to do.

On a side note, the edit panel to start a new thread is just about as wide as the screen and I wasn't sure how it was going to show up once I posted with this new web set up so I put CR's where I thought the edge of the display area was going to be. I had to go back and re-edit the whole post again to remove a bunch of them and I missed a few. It would be better if the enter new post text tex box is the same width as the text box that the posted thread or posted post is later displayed in. This is my opinion though. Maybe somebody else likes to type text strings around 2 feet long. I don't like it.
 

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I'm not a dentist, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Sounds like this new dentist is being very thorough and giving you options. At some point you have to decide whether you trust his judgment or not. Hopefully you can just get it filled and be done with it. My dentist I had for 30 yrs retired, he was great and only did what needed to be done. A young dentist took over his practice and from day one tried to get my whole family to do a bunch of unnecessary stuff. He talked me into having an old filling replaced and within 2 months the tooth broke, he replaced it with a crown and only charged what my insurance would pay, so no out of pocket. Crown fell off. He replaced it....3 times. In between the 2nd and 3rd time I changed dentists. New guy is great, old school, only does work that is necessary.

I hate going to the dentist.
 

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It really sounds like you need more info. Ask what he can do in the short run so that you can make a better informed decision.

I'm always reminded of the movie Peggy Sue Got Married. When Peggy goes back in time, to when her grandparents were alive, she asks her grandfather what, in his youth, he would have done differently and he say, "I'da took better care of my teeth."
 

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There are some ways to finance the best work, too. My wife had some major dental work done that insurance barely scratched the surface, and she used a 0-down no-interest for 12 or 18-months service that had a business card/brochure in the office lobby. Sometimes using a credit card with a 0/0 term for new purchase is okay AS LONG AS YOU PAY ON TIME.
 

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I'm not a dentist, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Sounds like this new dentist is being very thorough and giving you options. At some point you have to decide whether you trust his judgment or not. Hopefully you can just get it filled and be done with it........ Crown fell off. He replaced it....3 times. In between the 2nd and 3rd time I changed dentists. New guy is great, old school, only does work that is necessary.

I hate going to the dentist.
Me too! But, it's still better than Disneyland.
 

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My wife has been a hygienist for over 30 years. She is currently a Dental Hygiene Program Director for a local college.

The first and most important thing to do is get regular dental cleanings and exams, including x-rays. Its just good preventive maintenance.

Although the cost may seem high, how much is being pain free worth to you?

Teeth are taken for granted until there is a problem.

Good luck
 

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One thing I didn't see mentioned that I was told by my dentist is that when a tooth is pulled, the tooth opposite no longer has anything to bite against and can erupt. I ended up getting a permanent bridge to prevent this from happening. I lost a tooth due to it finally cracking a few years after a root canal. The remainder of the tooth was too weak and broke. I ended up going to an oral surgeon and having it removed. My dentist then made the permanent bridge spanning the surrounding teeth to cover the gap left from the tooth that was pulled.

Good luck which ever way you decide to go.
 

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I was looking around a couple years ago and found the Delta Dental doesn't cover anything for the first year, so basically, you're paying them for other people. You could put that money into savings and use it as needed. CareCredit is pretty good, usually has 0 interest plans for big bills. I've used it for both lasiks over the years, some for my dog, and use it for my dentist right now. I missed the window last year to get dental from Blue Cross to add to my health plan, but fortunately have only had the regular cleanings this year. But it was handy a few years ago with I needed 2 root canals and crowns in about 6 months. Went a little over the $1500 max, but the CareCredit handled the rest.
 

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Ignore your teeth, and they'll go away! What's a Chinese dentist's favorite time? Tooth hurty!

Sorry, my Dad is a dentist and has bad jokes. Save your tooth.
 

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One of my front teeth had root canal and cap. I have a few other caps. One thing I'm religious about is going to the dentist on a regular basis. My opinion is do root canal and cap. As mentioned the opposing tooth has nothing to bite against. The teeth on either side won't have anything to keep them from shifting. The other option is pull the tooth and do a implant. I have no idea how much that would cost but for some reason I think more then the root canal and cap.

When I had my root canal, the problem was only discovered during a routine cleaning and x-ray. I never at any point in time had any symptoms. It was a total surprise. The other surprise was when I went for the root canal. I didn't have novacaine! I almost jumped out of the chair for the door when my dentist said he wasn't going to give me anything for pain. He explained that the root was dead and I wouldn't feel anything and I didn't.
 

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I know some doctors that are adamantly opposed to root canals because of the future problems they cause. They would go with an implant. I don't remember the specifics of what the problems are.
 

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About 40 years ago when I had dental insurance thru IBM a dentist told me I would get lockjaw if I didn't have what he suggested. Never went back to him or any other dentist since. Wes
 

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I go every 6 months like clock work. I hate it, but I do it. One time a couple of years ago my dentist had an older dentist filling in for him (on vacation I guess) and he found a spot on one of my teeth during my exam after my cleaning that he said needed attention so an appointment was made. So I went in for my regular dentist to take care of it and one of the nurses came in and swabbed my mouth to get me ready for the injection. So Doc comes in and examines the tooth and proceeds to tell me that it's not a cavity and that I don't need any work done to the tooth.

So I say, "Well Doc, just how much do I owe you for this bad taste in my mouth?"

We both had a good laugh. What the heck is on that swab that numbs you before the injection? God-awful tasting...

Allen
 

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I go every 6 months like clock work. I hate it, but I do it. One time a couple of years ago my dentist had an older dentist filling in for him (on vacation I guess) and he found a spot on one of my teeth during my exam after my cleaning that he said needed attention so an appointment was made. So I went in for my regular dentist to take care of it and one of the nurses came in and swabbed my mouth to get me ready for the injection. So Doc comes in and examines the tooth and proceeds to tell me that it's not a cavity and that I don't need any work done to the tooth.

So I say, "Well Doc, just how much do I owe you for this bad taste in my mouth?"

We both had a good laugh. What the heck is on that swab that numbs you before the injection? God-awful tasting...

Allen
It's a topical anesthetic, but I can't remember which one my dentist uses. Benzocaine and Lidocaine can be topical, and I'm sure others as well, but those two I've used. My dentist has a nice mint flavor with his so it's not bad at all. I wish they were doing that when I was a kid, cuz I hated dentists because of that damn needle.
 

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I had a dang crown break about a month ago. My dentist looked at it and he was was like Wow! He sees those ocassonally but it really snapped. I did not know that a crown could break....pork rinds..ugh. Tooth was fine underneath it, so just a temporary and new crown. $319. One thing that can happen easily is when the drill actually nicks the tooth pulp. That usually requires a root canal. They have to be very careful drilling deeply into the tooth.
 

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Have you considered asking the dentist if theres a better deal to be had if you pay cash? The reason I mention this is dentists, doctors and hospitals typical hike the prices then negotiate a "agreed upon" lower actual cost for the work.
 

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@Turnall they used to use Novocaine but not sure they still do.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
After much deliberation and reviewing the comments I got here several times, I'm going to pray for the filling but I don't think it is wise to have a molar pulled considering that molars are what you chew everything with. That means if it is beyond fill I will have to spring for the $1825. The office agreed to let me spread the cost of all this from Nov 20 through first week of next year so that will help. In addition to this one I have another grand or so in work that needs to be done over the next year so this part won't be so bad.

Thanks everybody for all the great info. Now if somebody could just tell me where that 1 pound gold nugget is that I lost, LOL.
 
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