Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Dentist

I went to the dentist today. I have a lot of opinions and theories regarding dentist visits. Don't worry, I'm not an anti-dentite. My number one theory is as follows:
If you floss the night before and/or the morning of your appointment, if totally makes up for the fact that you've probably only flossed a grand total of 3 times since your last appointment.
At the moment, I don't have dental insurance. I haven't had it for about 2 years or so. I think I've developed the rest of my theories as a result of being uninsured. Allow me to elaborate on some dental visits and the subsequent theories.

The first time I went to the dentist without insurance the appointment only cost $59. I didn't think that was too terribly expensive. The second time I went, it was $95. What was the difference? The dentist was actually there for the second appointment. That was about the time I decided that I should always go to the dentist when he's not there. I schedule the appointments and they say, "Oh, well he won't be in that day, is that OK?" I have to hold myself back so I don't say, "Hells yea that's OK!"

On to the third appointment. I scheduled it on the dentist's day off, planning to spend another $59. I got there and on the way to the chair they informed me that my x-rays needed to be updated. OK. I was unaware of the cost associated with dental x-rays. Now I know, if you don't have insurance, teeth x-rays will run you close to $200. That was a fun surprise! What theory did I develop that day? X-rays are: a) a luxury item, b) something I won't get again until I have insurance, or c) all of the above. The answer is c.

That brings us to today's visit. I thought I had it this time. Was the dentist there? Nope (check). Did I have my prepared response for the x-ray update scenario? Yep (check). I decided to tell them that I wouldn't be getting x-rays until I either had insurance or they decided to do pro bono work. But don't worry, they still managed to get me. It turns out I have a teeny, tiny spot of a cavity on 1 of my teeth. All they have to do is use this air-sander thing to blast the spot away. How much will that cost? $113. You'd better believe I asked before I scheduled the appointment (as I was writing my $64 check for today's visit).

Here comes my newest theory: I should attempt to recoup the cost of being uninsured through the complimentary products you get after each appointment. The whole way home, I was trying to think about how many "complimentary" toothbrushes I would have to take to balance out my losses. I can't do complicated math while driving, so the most I figured out was that I'll need to take a bigger purse in order to smuggle out all the goods. I have since run the numbers (assuming that each toothbrush costs roughly $2):
  • $113 cavity = 57 toothbrushes
  • $185 x-rays = 93 toothbrushes
  • $218 worth of visits = 109 toothbrushes
  • GRAND TOTAL ($516) = 258 toothbrushes
I suppose I could also swipe the floss and travel size toothpastes, so that will completely change those totals.
I hate flossing. I wish I had 1 long curvy tooth. It didn't need to be split up. They didn't have to make separations with me. I can't get into flossing, I can't. People who smoke say, "You don't know how hard it is to stop smoking." Yes I do. It's as hard as it is to start flossing. ~Mitch Hedberg

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