How does anyone afford dental work?
January 19, 2012 10:52 AM Subscribe
I need $10,000-$15,000 of dental procedures and I don't have that kind of money.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (40 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How does anyone possibly afford to get dental work done? I need a lot of work done on some teeth and have no idea where to come up with the money.
Teeth: I have two baby teeth without adult teeth. The teeth are my front bottom. Their roots are mostly dead and I am told they will fall out at some point. Getting the procedures - surgery for extraction, a second surgery for bone graft (possibly can be combined with the previous), a third surgery for implant placement, and then crowns will all be required, plus meds, office visits, scans, etc. The surgeries have been estimated at $10,000; I expect this could easily hit $15,000 with all attendant costs.
Bridges have been considered but given the damage it could cause to the surrounding teeth, no dentist I've seen has recommended a Maryland or anything.
The surgeries aren't within-six-months urgent, but I've been putting them off for years and years and I've been warned that it's easier to do now and also that the teeth may break or fall out (which sends me into a panic thinking about) which would mean more work and more expenses.
Job/money: I work 9-12 hours, 5 days a week, at an office job that I love, that is in my desired field, and that pays $42k. Some underemployment and lower-paying jobs hit my savings bad. I now have saved $3k and am on track to stash away $400-800/month this year. I live in an expensive city. I'm not averse to picking up sidework or gig work but don't know what it would be; I'm not artistically talented (so no Etsy, etc) and don't have much flexibility in hours. I'm considering content-farm writing and bartending, but I don't think that would bring in a whole lot.
Insurance: I have dental insurance that will cover 50% of these procedures, but the yearly max is $2,000; I will hit that within the first surgery. I have health insurance but they never pay for anything so there's really no point.
Other finance: I have none. I'm finally financially comfortable enough where I can start considering a $500 pre-paid card to build my credit. My family is emotionally manipulative and will take the opportunity to be abusive about money.
Complications: I have severe dental anxiety. I have needed this work done for about eight years and only recently broke a three year dental hiatus. I managed to get my impacted wisdom teeth out by working with a very, very kind oral surgeon, but he requires payment in full up front. I can't even imagine being able to do this.
I haven't seen a dentist in about a year (I moved), but Very Kind Oral Surgeon gave me a name of someone he recommends who takes my insurance. That will be the first step in the process but I am still too worked up re: wisdom teeth to let anyone touch my mouth. I got dry socket, despite the OS's greatness and Vicondin prescription. I am feeling horrible writing this question, because money stresses me out, and dentists stress me out.
I was also hoping to go to grad school in Fall 2013, but will continue working if I can get the surgery while young/working. But I have no idea where to come up with that kind of cash, even in a year; my $3k is emergency savings and that's not even six months of expenses.