Removing molar and wisdom tooth in STL
August 3, 2009 12:14 AM   Subscribe

Need to get molar and wisdom tooth removed in STL without any insurance. Know of any good cost-effective places to go/Any good ideas?

So, my girlfriend is willing to help me lose this molar that's pretty much been causing me pain. I don't have the money to get rid of it otherwise and there's this wisdom tooth that's been causing me pain as well. Can an oral surgeon do both or should I visit both a dentist AND an oral surgeon? Anyways, yeah, in STL any good suggestions for cost-effective measures for this sort of thing? Also, I would much rather be out of it/ have it be painless, for most of it. I hate going to the dentist, even those I love.
posted by lizarrd to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dental schools often offer inexpensive dental care, sometimes on a sliding-scale (what you pay depends on your income). It seems there's one in St. Louis, so it might be worth calling them to see if they can do this for you.

SIUE East St. Louis Center
601 James R. Thompson Drive
Bldg. D, Room 2055
East St. Louis, IL 62201
618-482-6980 (Office)
618-482-6918 (Fax)
Hours of Operation
Monday Through Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
posted by Houstonian at 1:17 AM on August 3, 2009

Here's a link to lots of information about SIU's dental program, for patients.
posted by Houstonian at 1:19 AM on August 3, 2009

Not to be a downer, but getting wisdom teeth removed is pretty expensive. You could find a way to afford the simple extraction, I'm sure, but any sort of anesthesia will run upwards of $600 (probably more like $800), and then you'll have to pay for antibiotic and painkiller prescriptions (neither of which you can go without, unless you feel like a couple days of extreme pain followed by a nasty mouth infection).

An oral surgeon could definitely do both extractions, but you may find you need a referral from a dentist.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:56 AM on August 3, 2009

One tip, if you don't know it already, is to make sure the doc uses novocaine, instead of a more powerful deep anesthesia (it isn't a general anesthesia, but it pretty much knocks you out.) The latter is much more expensive, and most people can tolerate an extraction with novocaine alone (the difference is that you'll be able to hear the crunching and breaking sounds of your tooth, maybe, as he/she works it out.)

You should also, right now, be considering your post-extraction strategy. Implants? Bridges? Leaving a gap for now? There are considerations - cost and otherwise - for each. I found this site to be very informative for my own dental work.

Speaking of which, if you need a lot of dental work done - multiple extractions, crowns, etc. - you might consider a "dental vacation" to Tijuana. With a good recommendation, you can get excellent care down there. I know, because - after starting my search on MeFi - I just completed my own dental odyssey there (but I live in Los Angeles, so I was able to make multiple trips. But folks who need a bunch of work can and do go there for four or five days of chair endurance sessions.) Message me if you have questions about that, and good luck.
posted by soulbarn at 5:15 AM on August 3, 2009

Having once lived with the pain of an exploded molar for a week for essentially the reasons you give, I can freely state that it doesn't matter what the source of the money, nor how deep your fear of the surgeon. Steal the money if your must. This pain will NOT improve, and if denied long enough, may actually kill you.

Hurting teeth are caused by essentially two things: 1) enough of the enamel has eroded that the nerve ending is exposed, or 2) your have a growing pocket of nerve and flesh eating bacteria less than three inches from your brain. Condition one will always lead to condition two. This is obviously a dangerous thing.

Then there is the damage to your heart that constant pain causes. You may erroneously think that "it's not so bad" but your physical stress levels are through the roof. ALL the time. Sleep is disrupted. Immune response is in overdrive. Hormone balance shifts you into a constant state of "fight or flight" (and the only fight you can wage requires a drill.)

By all means, source cheap dental work if you can. Many hospitals will do emergency extractions in extreme circumstances (my condition was actually immediately life threatening) and you can pay them back $25/month for the rest of your life if need be. Dental schools (don't forget that Community Colleges have them, but they won't generally do surgeries, only simple extractions, YMMV) are a good option. Call an oral surgeon and ask about financing options (they do realize that their services are expensive.)

But get it done this week.
posted by EnsignLunchmeat at 5:20 AM on August 3, 2009

nthing Dental School. I had all four wisdom teeth taken out at the Dental School here for $100. That was about 15 years ago so prices have gone up but it should be too unfordable. Get it done quickly though, you don't want to risk having an infection spread to other teeth or your jaw.
posted by octothorpe at 5:37 AM on August 3, 2009

That sucks to not have insurance. This is not something you want to skimp on, however. I cannot recommend enough getting the oral surgeon and being knocked out. This is not something you want to be awake for.
Not to put the fear in you, and YMMV, but I had one of my lower wisdom tooth removed by a dentist, and now have permanent damage to that sublingual nerve. (It is my understanding this can only happen with lower teeth.) My second wisdom tooth experience was a dream, though (save one dry socket, be careful of those), because I had a great oral surgeon who didn't dick around. IMO, the extra cost would be worth the piece of mind. If I had not had insurance, it would've been about $1100 with the drugs/after care/surgery/meds everything. Good luck.
posted by bunny hugger at 6:18 AM on August 3, 2009

I lucked out and was able to get mine out (on 2 separate occasions) by doing a pain study. They keep you for 24 hours but not only do you get your wisdom teeth removed but I got paid for it.
Its something to look for.
Best of luck btw...i know your pain brother.
posted by ShawnString at 6:19 AM on August 3, 2009

*I meant this is something you don't want to skimp on.
posted by bunny hugger at 6:41 AM on August 3, 2009

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