Screwed by the Tooth Fairy

I have bad teeth. Not bad as in crooked, missing or discolored, but bad as in very-prone-to cavities. Of course, the fact that I spent most of my childhood gulping down ungodly amounts of candy may have something to do with it, but I’d still like to blame genetics for it (both my parents have pretty crappy teeth too).

I’ve been seeing dentists for as long as I remember: in primary/junior high I used to go with a friend to the clinic where his mom was working and get things fixed medieval-style – back then anesthetics were almost unheard of for dental work and the machinery was… designed in soviet Russia.

During high-school I went to see the daughter of one of my mom’s coworkers – student at the Stomatological Institute (not sure if this is the term the western world uses; a google search got me results from Russia, Ukraine and China) – and she did practice work on me. Luckily, she was (and still is) good at it. But since my candy-eating habits have not changed, I still had to go back to see her regularly.

I won’t go into the details of the dental work I’ve been subjected to, but for the sake of the story I’ll let you know that I have two molars with metallic crowns (since they were completely destroyed during childhood). Well, last week, one of those crowns decided to leave its resting place and run into the world with a stray piece of gum that I was chewing at the moment.

My company provides dental insurance so after a few inquiries I found a dental office in the area and set up an appointment. Went in, got x-ray scans of all my teeth – which I guess is standard procedure over here with new patients – and then the doc gave me the good news: the tooth is irreversibly damaged, must be taken out; it’s neighbors are pretty bad too (so she suggested a bridge as a replacement); I have a an infection and I need a root canal; I need work on a couple of cavities and the other crown. The estimated grand total: $10.000.

I’m gonna let that sink in for a second. Ten thousand dollars! That’s like four iMacs I was going to buy! Insurance covers only up to $1500 per year – luckily we’re at the end of 2009 so technically I could squeeze in some this year and some the next one – but it only covers certain procedures, not everything. In the end I decided on only the must-take-care-of issues, so it won’t be that much, but somehow I know that one day I’ll have to get the other things done as well.

Last Friday I got the root canal and had the destroyed tooth (the one whose crown fell out) extracted. That part wasn’t fun at all, not because it hurt (it didn’t – until the anesthetic wore off) but because the doctor struggled for 30 minutes to take it out, breaking it piece by piece. After that she asked for help from another doc and together they pulled at me for another 15 minutes or so, blood flowing everywhere. Fun times.

Today it wasn’t as exciting, but I’m either developing a resistance to the anesthetic or it wasn’t as effective as last time because I definetly felt everything was going on. Let’s see how it’s gonna be once it wears off completely…


  1. Andrei says:

    10 grand… And I thought that Romanian medical insurance companies are crooked and trying to squeeze extra money.
    One idea: from the 10k budget, take 1k and buy a plane ticket to Romania. And I am sure that some friends would be more than happy to torture you, at a fraction of the cost. I think Adriana might actually enjoy playing with you. Your teeth I mean, of course.

  2. Andrei says:

    My mind is still in shock at the 10 000 us dollars estimate.
    You can travel for a few months with this kind of money!

  3. sucheela says:

    Urrrggggghhhh. This is horrifying. I hope you at least get good pain killers.

    I agree with Andrei. Buy a plane ticket and get your teeth fixed somewhere else.

  4. Chris says:

    I seriously considered it, but the whole operation takes a couple of weeks, it cannot be done in a short amount of time. So traveling to Romania isn’t an option.

  5. Andrei says:

    then maybe travel to Asia – do some scuba between teeth reconstructions Smile