My $5,000 Tooth

I have a toothache.  And I shouldn’t.  Even my dentist told me I shouldn’t.  But I do and it hurts.  Probably more like a “gum ache” if I had to specifically categorize it.

But I am mostly pissed because I have spent over $5,000 on this tooth and this is how it treats me.

This story goes w-w-a-a-a-y-y-y-y back to early 2002.  I had a toothache and went to a dentist I picked from the four listed in the yellow pages of the small Kentucky town where we lived.  Imagine my surprise when Ned from my Sunday school class walked in.

“I didn’t know you were a dentist.” I told him. (Inside I was thinking “Thank God I’m not here for a pap smear”)

And that was the beginning of the first very expensive crown on the tooth.  Which proceeded to fall off three times. The third time he replaced it, Ned told me he couldn’t help me if it happened again.  Which it did.  Luckily for him, I had moved to Las Vegas by that time and since it didn’t bother me I just ignored it.  Although I did keep the crown.  Damn thing cost me almost $2,000.

Spring forward ten years and finally getting some good dental care (after about 8 years of neglect.  We all know how I am about my health.)  This specific tooth in question came up again and I told my new dentist to just pull the damn thing out.  But Dr G. said “No, we can fix it and I promise the crown won’t come off.”

So I believed him and we started the process.  Except now I needed a root canal and had to be referred to a specialist. (Dr G. tried three times, bless his heart, he just couldn’t make “it” happen – whatever “it” is to perform a root canal.  I know he explained it; I just didn’t listen).

Root canal finished, crown installed and I have to say that Dr G. was right and the new crown he put on did stay put.

Back to the toothache.  Dr G. wasn’t available so Dr Matt saw me instead. Matt told me with a root canal and a crown, there was literally nothing there left to hurt.  But he figured it must have something to do with the gum.  He prescribed antibiotics, a mouthwash with antibiotics in it and most importantly, Vicodin.

The Vicodin cost me $9.25.  I think I have discovered the answer to rising health care costs.


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