Instead of writing about writerly things, today I wanted to share an opinion with you. Yes, I want to opine.
What many fail to recognize is dental care –the condition of your teeth- is directly related to your state of health. If you have decay, the bacteria at work which are destroying your teeth; you also end up ingesting. While a fair bit of that decay is most probably killed in that acid pit known as your stomach, much of it does not get destroyed. The toxins created can infect your heart.
This same bacteria creates a toxic environment in your body, adversely affecting your health. If you imagine your body with one of those video game health bars on top of it, yours is not at 100%. The lower that health bar, the more effect that bacteria and other bacteria and viruses can degrade your health.
The lower that bar, the more susceptible you are to common ailments like the cold, the flue, yes, the dreaded virus from a country we will not mention and … cancers of different kinds.
Brushing your teeth is but one small piece of the puzzle. Much like what you watch on TV, read or experience in life can degrade your mental health, everything you put into your mouth or even breathe in or inhale can have devastating effects on your health.
Insurance does not adequately cover dental health. Yes, it will pay for a cleaning, and you should go twice a year and get your teeth cleaned.
Insurance does not cover it because nobody makes a stink about it, as few genuinely understand the cause and effect, and dentistry in and of itself causes any sane person to cringe and not want to think about it.
The sound of dental suction is akin to nails on a chalkboard.
I know you hate the dentist. I know a few who like them. In my case, if you knew me in person, you would know that I have friends from all walks of life. Dentists are among them. They are just people like you and I. Frequently I will take my dentist to lunch. Like you and I, they have other interests or hobbies, and that is how we relate.
Predatory lending has entered into this arena.
Imagine you go to your dentist. You have put this visit off for just about any reason you can imagine. You finally go as you are now in pain. ARGHH.
He or she does an examination, takes an x-ray, and the decay (cause of the pain) has reached what they call the dentine part of the tooth. That is just past the enamel and into the part of the tooth with nerve endings.
The pinch of the needle is only the beginning part of the procedure. While some dentists are better at this than others, it is not pleasant.
At this point, the hissing of suction is accompanied by the high pitched scream of the drill. Bits of water and other vapors leave your mouth. As the dentist sticks something in your mouth called an ‘explorer’ the fun begins
They feel for that resistance of mushy parts of the tooth that the decay (bacteria) has been eating.
The options are narrowing as you are now confronted with what is known as a root canal, as the decay has reached into the nerve chamber.
If your dentist does root canals, he or she will probably ‘spray’ some more nerve-blocking agent as they have to drill into the nerve chamber, dig out the nerve, killing the tooth, and of course, removing the source of pain.
The simple filling just jumped up in price over a thousand dollars, only to treat that little bit of decay. But wait, there is more.
Now that the tooth is dead, they must put a crown on it as the dead tooth will quickly degrade and will break with pressure from you masticating (chewing) your food.
If you are lucky, they will do what is known as a core build-up while you are numb. By this time, you have already been standing on your head for two hours. Your jaw is sore, and any limits of patience have been breached long ago.
Numb, equipped with a temporary crown, you head up to the front desk. From the pain in your head, you now get a kick in the pants.
Insurance pays different levels on different procedures. With a max of $2K a year, you have already maxed it out on one tooth. But wait…
Your part is $600 for your visit today. Mine was $1,468 yesterday of what was supposed to be a replacement of fillings that leaked. That is another story.
Where do you come up with $600? Like most, you pull out that plastic card.
Here is where predatory lending comes in to play.
If your dentist is honest, they will tell you what your options are, one of them is to pull the tooth.
Removing the tooth is the worst decision you can make if they can save it, but many people cannot scrape together $500 if they had to. This is the sad fact of the world we live in.
While the elites are poking their fingers in the air, you know the ones who live in gated communities. Those are the same with $24K subzero freezers; eating 16 dollars a pint ice cream, have no conception of how ‘normal’ people must live. These are the people who fly private jets from San Fransisco to DC on your tax dollars. These are the same people who claim they care about you by telling you how you should think and vote.
These are the same folks who hire private security firms to guard their ivory towers but feel that not only should you not have a way to protect yourself, but you don’t need cops either. Pffft!
They are the real predators, who allow credit card people like the above mentioned to screw you and I. Why? Those predators buy them. How else do you think a public servant goes to DC an average person and ends up a multi-millionaire?
We, the smelly Wallmart shoppers, are forced to buy inferior things made in China, or some country that we could not find on a map, are not the kinds of folks who wouldn’t dream of buying $16 a pint designer ice cream.
Now you are forced to make a decision. Pull the tooth, or fix it.
There is an option that you see advertised all over the dental offices.
Care Credit. Zero percent for 6 months!
This last tooth that turned into a root canal cost over $6K when all was said and done. I won’t even go into the pain aspect of this procedure. There were multiple visits, and because of Corona, it took months to get in, get scheduled, and finally get it finished.
This particular tooth turned into a root canal as the previous crown ‘leaked.’ That means that everything that went into my mouth, some minuscule part made it under the crown, allowing decay to form.
Insurance pays damned little of a crown as they figure it is for vanity and not health reasons.
Your teeth are there so you can adequately get your nutrition into small enough bits so your stomach can do its part.
Teeth are not just for a pretty smile; they have a purpose.
Back to predatory credit cards. Zero-interest for six months and 26.9% for every nickel not paid back in six months.
While charging the dentist 3% of the sale, they wait patiently for you, the borrower, to default on your part.
This is the type of credit most people who do not have decent credit scores get, and that is how they get away with the high percentage rate. The other option is 14% from the get-go, which is still damned high.
The dentist most probably bake the 3% into what they charge you, so you are paying the extra charges too.
Money at this stage of the game is cheap. If you look at your savings account, you will see you are getting less than 1%. In my case, I am earning .05% on savings accounts.
If you are forced to using savings vs. charging, use your savings. If you can pay it back in Six months, use that option and make sure you pay it off.
So darlings, here are you marching orders ….
First, take care of your teeth. Visit your dentist every six months, and get them cleaned. I don’t care how much you hate them. Put on your big girl panties, or big boy underwear, and go do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Here is a trick that they don’t tell you. I recently discovered this. Get a mouth wash that has peroxide in it. Why?
There are two types of bacteria, one that messes up your gums and the other that eats your teeth. I don’t care how good you brush; you will not remove all the bacteria. Peroxide based mouth wash will foam and have you looking like a rabid animal. That is fine, do it. Please keep it in your mouth for at least a minute and then brush as usual.
Don’t swallow it.
Secondly, keep floss handy. After you eat something, floss.
As the last bit of dental hygiene, do this… Keep gum on your person, not just any gum but gum with xylitol, sorbitol…(sugar-free).. If you like soft drinks, monster drinks, and so on, guess what, the bacteria that destroys your teeth love that stuff too.
Drink water instead or at the very least after you enjoy that carbonated battery acid then, chew some gum. (I’m not too fond of gum.) I have lots of it around and carry it with me. Know what I hate more than gum, yep, dental pain.
Lastly, use a straw. When you drink Coke or other acidic drinks, you bathe your teeth in that stuff. A straw will put most of it past your front teeth and allow you that same satisfying belch after the fact.
Wait TW, think of the turtles!
Hey, don’t throw your shit in the ocean.
Have you seen the tons of plastic refuse floating in the ocean? Who does that? What subhuman ass hat does that? I am more worried about those types of things than I am climate change.
If you chew gum, don’t be that asshole that spits it on the ground. Keep a tissue handy and deposit it in the trash.
What else can you do?
Firstly you can re-press this post so others might see it. Do someone else a solid, and help them out.
Secondly, you could contact your congressperson and tell them that insurance should cover dental issues for more than it currently does. No, that does not include a pretty ‘grill.’ If you have money for that, don’t talk to me about not having money for cavities.
If you are confronted with using the Care Credit card, realize that if you cannot pay it back in six months, choose the other option and know that 14% is still expensive money.
Dentists can typically tell from the x-ray what the treatment plan will involve. Crowns are not a lifetime fix. They guarantee them for five years, and…here is the kicker, that warranty is usually tied to your continued visits, including dental cleaning.
Know that an implant is about $6K each. Implants probably last a lifetime, but I am not sure about that.
The best course of action is to take care of what you were born with.
I hope that you find some part of this epistle helpful.
Much Love -TW