Hard Decisions About Dental Care, Financial Worries & Solutions…

There is nothing harder, or scarier, to write about than money. Especially when you are afraid, and struggling, and having to make hard decisions about things that require money that you just don’t have. What do you do? I debated about writing about this but because I know that whatever the age or the issue a lot of people are struggling and afraid about money these days and I thought it might be helpful, or perhaps help someone feel less alone, if they were able to read about someone else facing just this, and what they did about it, and why it is so difficult to get by when so many people in the world can’t imagine being in your shoes, or perhaps even worry about being just where you are. This is my story right now, for whatever it might be worth. I want to use this  September Blogging Challenge With Effy to try to reach out to others in every way I can. “Each one, reach one.”

I have been writing about my toothache that has had my whole jaw aching. I also talked in a recent post about how hard it is to make it through when you suffer from mental illness so are not able to work outside the home, and in my case, at 63, there are many things that just will come up with aging, and when you are worried about money all time time what do you do when something comes up? You let yourself have a good cry, you talk to your dear ones for support, and then you look for help or solutions, and finally you make what can be very hard decisions. Yesterday I went to the dentist, at the clinic where I have just started going because I can no longer afford even my small dental insurance policy. It was heartbreaking for me to lose my private dentist of 22 years, but you do what you have to do. I registered at the clinic for dental care because I knew cleanings were only $35 and that other services were supposed to be cheap, much cheaper than going to a regular dentist. I learned yesterday that what can be “cheaper” can still not be affordable. I left the dentist crying, and scared.

I went in at 4. They did an x-ray to determine what was going on with the tooth. It is my back molar on the bottom right side, the existing back molar because I had the one in the way back pulled three years ago for the same reasons I am facing now. The dentist wanted to do a root canal, and then put on a crown. It is really, really expensive. $1000-$2,000, closer to $2,000 with the root canal and the crown. She said she could just try putting a temporary crown on and see if that would help and if it did in a few weeks they would put a permanent crown on. And she said — this was at the clinic, just for the crown — that it would be almost $600 to get it done, and that was such a good price because the crown alone would be $1200 at a regular dentist. But I would most likely need to have a root canal too and they didn’t do this at the clinic, I would have to go to a regular dentist. (Having just quit my regular dentist and no longer having dental insurance I have nowhere else to go and no way to get any kind of help without insurance to pay the cost of a root canal which would be well over $1000 I was told.) Then I was told that of course they could do all of this and it might not help at all anyway and then I’d have to have the tooth pulled. I went in to the dentist yesterday expecting the tooth to be pulled but the dentist said she didn’t want to do that if she didn’t have to because then I’d have both back molars out on that side and it would destabilize the other teeth and weaken them so that eventually they would probably have to be pulled. I sat there in shock with tears running down my cheeks. And here’s the thing…

It just kills me how, when they have someone sitting in the chair who just came for the first time last week saying she could no longer afford dental care or dental insurance elsewhere and they look at you and, straight-faced, tell you how lucky you are to only have to pay close to $600 because it was double that elsewhere, what part of “I came here because I could only afford the $35 teeth cleanings” did they not get? And the root canal, and then all of that might be for naught anyway? I could not stop crying nor could I move from the chair. I didn’t know what to say or do. She gave me a prescription for pain medication that she told me to alternate with ibuprofen to get me through a few days until I could make up my mind what I wanted to do. I walked all the way out of the clinic to my car crying. I sat in my car crying and afraid. I felt so lost.

And the thing is it was just like at my last visit with my dentist. I told her I was so sorry, that I thought the world of her, appreciated all that she had done for me over the years, but that I could no longer afford dental insurance. I was paying $55 a month for a dental policy so that I could get my teeth cleaning “free” twice a year. I could have paid $100 for teeth cleanings twice a year and still paid much less than the dental insurance cost, but $100 for teeth cleanings, more with x-rays, would be too much for me in a month anyway. When the dentist looked at me and said, “Just get rid of the dental insurance and pay for the teeth cleanings, they’re only 100 bucks” I realized that she could not even imagine that $100 extra in a month was not possible. That “100 bucks” is indeed a lot of money to some of us. And if something else came along — like this situation came up so soon thereafter — even with insurance I don’t know how I’d have payed for it and now I have no dental insurance at all.

People for whom $100 extra, and often several hundred dollars extra, in a month is no big deal, cannot comprehend what it means to not be able to afford that not to mention being frightened and in pain and not begin to know what to do. I drove to the pharmacy and got the pain medication and I came home and took it. I was in shock, and I hurt, and the clock was ticking. I had to figure out what to do.

I realized that this was where I had to make a decision about what I was going to do for the rest of my life, that’s how big it is, because it isn’t about this one tooth. If I could somehow come up with the money to get this one tooth taken care of — and it might not work anyway — who’s to say that at 63, when I’ve reached the age when other teeth could develop problems, it would not just be an ongoing, terror-filled thing waiting for the other shoe to drop, and not having the money for those “shoes,” or rather teeth, to be fixed either. I could live in fear year after year trying frantically to come up with money to get a tooth fixed or I could just have it pulled, take the best care of my teeth as I can and hope they hold on, and finally just have teeth pulled when they need to be pulled and one day perhaps end up with a partial plate or even dentures. I decided that this wasn’t what I would like to do, this is what I have to do. I’m 63, cannot afford expensive dental care, so there was no other solution. Or was there?

What I’m about to say next will be controversial to some, but could be a help to others so I will present you with the full solution I came up with. I had heard about all manner of dental issues being able to be cured naturally. I didn’t know much of anything about it but I found the most amazing website last night and people with far worse problems that I’m having have used natural remedies to heal all kinds of tooth issues. I have decided to use whatever natural means that I can to try to heal this issue. The x-ray showed that there was no abscess, no new cavity — the tooth was filled decades ago and the filling has so far held — and she couldn’t even see a crack in the tooth although she felt there must be a very small one, but she said a very small crack shouldn’t be cause the pain I was having and she felt it could be from clenching my jaw or grinding my teeth at night, and if there was a small crack the grinding would cause a lot of jaw pain. What do I have to lose? There are a lot of really interesting case studies of teeth being cured from all kinds of things, and if push comes to shove and it won’t get better and I have to have it pulled anyway I’m no worse off for trying.

(And please, I’d ask gently at this juncture, don’t write to me and tell me how natural tooth remedies don’t work and I’m foolish to try. I’ve come to a decision that was hard to come to and that I feel good about and trying to dissuade me would not be helpful…)

So finally this is what I have decided and I am at peace with my decision. It is long thought out, and I feel good about it. I will do what I can through natural means (Last night I threw out my old toothbrush and my “regular” toothpaste and used a natural toothpaste and new toothbrush — the site has lots to say about what regular toothpaste does to your teeth and it’s not good, I’ve known this for a long time but just never made the switch, plus I did use a warm salt water solution held in my mouth for 5 minutes, they suggest 10 which I’ll work up to.) AND PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM NOT PRESCRIBING ANYTHING NOR TRYING TO INFLUENCE ANYONE ELSE TO DO THIS SORT OF THING, this is simply what I have decided I am going to do for me. The website is amazing. It is free, natural, and holistic. It is at: Healing Teeth Naturally. Frankly, having read through a lot of the site last night I wish I’d made a lot of these changes long ago anyway.

I don’t know if any of this has helped you, perhaps helped you feel less alone if you are going through some of these things yourself, but know that I offer my experience with love, a deep sense of caring, and in the hope that someone else might know about this resource before they need it so they are not as frightened and feeling so lost and hopeless as I did yesterday.

May we all be well, may we help one another as much as we’re able, and may we always know that there are solutions, there is help, we can find a way…

 

 

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. I love your blog so much, I think it’s so important, as you wrote yourself some people cannot imagine living with little in terms of finances but in my experience what you lack in finance gives you a knowledge that will enrich beyond anything money can buy. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a travesty that when we most need not to be worried about finances we are not helped but such is our society and I think getting the message out there and explaining choices that have to be made in this situation will open people’s eyes to what is going on ❤️

    • Thank you so much dear Rachel, what you’ve written means so much to me. I am firmly committed to reaching out and trying to help others, even when it’s hard for me. Because I know what it’s like to feel alone and afraid and maybe even hopeless. And I think when we share our stories our pain can be transformed into something lovely if it can help another person get by a little easier, or so I hope. It means so much to me that you are here. Bless you honey… <3

  2. I’m so glad you found a path through this that you are happy with! You’ve been on my mind. Are the pain pills helping at all?

    You are so right that people with any extra money at all have no idea what it’s like to have none.

    • They are helping Kim honey. I am not pain free but it is much more tolerable. The pain meds just wore off so I took some ibuprofen, I’m supposed to alternate. The ibuprofen helps but not as much. I’m just doing everything I can do.

      Best and love to you honey. I hope you have a weekend filled with peace and ease.. <3

  3. We don’t have dental insurance because well, John paid to go to dental school and with his OCD, he doesn’t feel that anyone else can take better care of our teeth. That being said, he always had to ask permission to take care of us and sometimes he got a “yes” and sometimes it was “if I don’t see it, you didn’t do it”. We have always had a fixed income because of the nature of his work ( not private practice for 20 years and working for others since then) and even just paying for the cost of supplies can be a struggle. When John lost his position due to sequestration, I ended up going for 4 years with two broken molars until he finally had a position again where he could work on me. He has always advocated for keeping your natural teeth for as long as possible by whatever means possible. I tried to get him to just pull my broken teeth because we just didn’t have the resources to fix them but he wouldn’t do it. We actually use many old-fashioned ways to take care of our teeth and have done so for a long time. When even the professionals cannot afford treatments, it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable, it means that the intervention of the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry have become the treatment decision-makers rather than the professionals who were trained to make diagnoses. I’m sorry you have had to go through this experience…I know how draining it is to feel so adrift. Please know that there are a lot of people in the field who are required to “perform” in order to work but who also recommend alternatives to their own families because they are caught in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Sometimes (a lot of times) the process of making money is the most important factor in treatment decisions and that is because the ones who make the decisions about patient care are not medical professionals…they are business executives representing insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Do whatever you must to keep as many teeth as you can and don’t let people tell you that holistic/natural methods are wrong because that is often the treatment plan professionals choose for their own families.

    • Oh thank you so much dear Karrie, you’ve just no idea how much this comment of yours meant to me. I was so afraid you would think badly of me since your husband is a dentist so what you wrote lifted me up so much. I so appreciate your being there. I am sending you so much love and a gentle, warm hug. Bless you honey… <3

      • I would never think badly of you! Just because he is a dentist doesn’t mean we don’t struggle and he is practical…if there is a natural solution that works, use it! We have had several health issues crop up as we near 60 and we are sick of all the medications for the issues and the medications for the side effects of the original medications! We are not “typical” by any means and I can’t see any change to that in our future. Let us know what works and what doesn’t…I should have remembered the salt water rinse because that is always one of the first things he suggests.

        • Thank you so much Karrie, you are very kind and your words have really lifted me up. I wish share what has helped me along the way. And blessings to you honey. Take care,,,

  4. For a lot of complicated reasons I won’t go into, I’ve relied on natural healing for nearly two decades. I have no chronic conditions (other than mild osteoarthritis which I treat with exercise and diet) and take no medications. I’ve come to believe in my body’s innate intelligence. Western medicine and dentistry are blessings when they are needed, but often the body is its own blessing, with the help of “alternative” pathways. Big Pharma, the insurance industry, and the health-care industry (which is not the same as the health-care services sector) have a lot to answer for. The cost of health care here is high, but it is more than double in the U.S., which has lower life expectancy and poorer health outcomes. To me there’s a strong message there, and you are listening to it and acting on it. Good for you, Maitri.

    • Thank you so much dear Cathryn. And yes, Big Pharma and the insurance and health care industry can be a nightmare for sure. And now that my income is so very limited I am being led into things that, as I said, I wish I’d started sooner. I don’t know if I can “cure” my tooth through natural means but it won’t be for lack of trying. And again, thank you so much for coming so regularly to read my blog and comment. It means more to me than you can possibly know. Love to you honey…

  5. I live in Minnesota , the University of Minnesota has a dental college . The highly trained doctors in all fields train dental students & they are monitored . They have all the latest equipment and charge for materials only . I would suggest you see where the closest dental college to your area is. By all means follow your chosen path but just in case have a backup. Or for something else down the road . All of my love to you as always . I love all of your posts and didn’t know you were going through this

    • How wonderful that you have a dental college near you. That is wonderful. We don’t have that here. Thank you so much Gaeyl for your kind words, it means so much to me that you are here and that you took time to comment means a lot to me. Bless you honey…

  6. Maitri…Your dentist was extremely unsympathetic and I’m sorry you had to deal with that when you were so vulnerable. However, you are such a brilliant soul and finding a natural holistic route is wonderful. Keep at it. May I gently suggest you forget what the dentist said about teeth being destabilized if you opt for an extraction. That may take a long time if it happens and she was coming from a place of optimum dental care. I was forced to make that decision once out of lack of finances. It wasn’t ideal but it stopped the pain. Best of luck! Remember miracles happen all the time!

    • Thank you so much Ruth honey. I appreciate what you said so much, it has really helped me a lot. I am going to try what natural remedies I can but if I have to have the tooth out I will. It really is my only option. I’m so glad to hear that it worked for you. Best and love to you honey… <3

  7. Did your clinic dentist suggest taking an antibiotic to settle down the likely infection in your tooth? That was the standby (and cheap) suggestion before root canals became the go-to treatment.

    My mainstream dentists are keen on antibiotics, along with root canals, too, but it’s the cheap amoxicillin that settles things down, in my experience.

    • Hi Lisa honey, we did talk about an antibiotic but she felt based on my x-rays and her exam that I didn’t need an antibiotic but we’re certainly keeping an eye on things. But thanks for the suggestion honey. <3

  8. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story. I absolutely believe in the Ripple effect… and I believe that your desire to share your experience in the hopes that it may help someone else will have far reaching ripples. Sometimes we are not privy tonthe reasons we are going through something this hard until afterwards. Sending much loving energy in your direction …

    • Thank you so much dear Lynne honey. I do try, I’ve often wondered if the hardships I have dealt with in my life, and there have been many, happened to me because I also had the ability to write and share in a way that helps others. I know that it does. I have had many people write to me over these 10 years saying that something I wrote on my blog kept them from suicide, or helped them get through really hard times. If that is so I am deeply blessed. I want so much to be of service from my little corner of the world and so your words mean so very much to me. They help me feel like perhaps I am reaching my goal, and I will continue on. I am sending you so much love. I hope you have a lovely weekend full of peace and ease. Blessings and love to you…

  9. Teresa Myszka says:

    Hi Maitri, nothing worse than tooth issues
    I always took care of my teeth, then two years ago I became very ill, as a result i could no longer take care of my teeth the trAditional way. One of the first things they teach you prior to stArting chemo is to rinse with salt wAter at least five to six times a day, to prevent thrush. Guess what it works. The second thing I leArned is to throw away trAditional toothpaste and brush using xylitrol. Yes I know it a natural sugar, but it works wonders for your teeth and gums. I brush three times a day, and while many things in my life have gone to he’ll on a hand basket, my teeth have never been in better shape. They’re white, my gums are healthy, and no further cavities. It didn’t happen overnight, it took several months before I started seeing results, but now I would never go back to trAditional toothpaste, mouthwash etc. Maitri give it a try, it reAlly does work!?

    • Thank you so much sweet Teresa, I am so sorry that you’ve been so sick and been through so much. You are amazing in the way that you handle things and carry on. And someone just wrote to me and told me NOT to have xylitrol in the house because it is very toxic to dogs. I’ve read such good things about it, and it works for you, and you have animals in the house, how do you manage it? As you know I am very protective about my babies. And yes I threw out my regular toothpaste. I bought a natural toothpaste some time ago and never used it and starting using it a couple of days ago. It’s called TruthPaste. But my friend Noni makes her own toothpaste of natural ingredients and has for years and it’s cheap to make so I am looking into all kinds of options. And thank you so much for the support and encouragement. It helps me so much. I love you honey, I hope you are doing well. You are always in my heart, and thoughts, and prayers…

  10. I know exactly what you are going through. And I think your decision is fine. When we can’t afford things we have to do the best we can and try cheaper methods to help ourselves. I’ve had to do the same thing many times. Good for you Maitri. Hope the tooth gets better pain wise and that all works out well. I’m going right now to check out that site!

    • Dear Sheila, yes honey, do check out the site, it is truly amazing. And oddly in going through all the problems with my tooth it has led me to this site and others that have natural remedies for tooth issues and I wish I had been using them all along. Thank goodness I found it. I hope it will help me heal this issue and keep my mouth in better shape. Good luck to you honey. I hope you have a lovely weekend full of peace and ease…

  11. Olive Appleby says:

    Maitri….I understand everything you say. Dental treatment here in the UK is expensive depending on what you want and where you live. I have a real phobia re dentists too. My husband stills works but we can’t afford to visit the dentist, what a state of affairs?. Sometimes I just don’t think some professionals understand what life is like for some of us. Anyway, you have to do what you think is best for your health and your sanity. My mother always swears by warm water and salt for rinsing your mouth. Old remedies sometimes are the best. As long as you have peace of mind that is the main thing. Much love and positive thoughts. ??? Olive

    • Oh dear Olive I’m so sorry that the dentist is a problem for you too. It is for so many of us. But I do believe that your mother has it right. Warm water salt rinses can be very healing. And one of my friends here, Karrie, who has written above and who is married to a dentist said that many dentists prescribe old time natural remedies for their own families. It makes one think! I’m sending you love and positive thoughts too. We will somehow find our way…

  12. Thank you for sharing what you’re doing – I’m going to take a look at that site, I’ve been trying various natural remedies (for teeth/mouth and other things) and I’m always open to learning more. And it’s so true… some people simply cannot even imagine not having just an extra $100 or something – no concept at all. I’m sending many good thoughts for your tooth and your pain to be all better!

    • Thank you so much Gin, do check it out honey, there is a lot of good info. there. I think it can help a lot of us. Blessings to you dearheart… <3

  13. You are brave to write about topics that touch many . Finances weigh heavily on the minds of people worldwide. You give a face and a real story to what is really going on. Thank you for sharing and being strong.

    • Thank you Mary, I struggle through many things in my life like longterm child abuse, mental illness and trying to managing living with it and now growing older and being afraid when these things come up because finances are scary. I write in the hopes that by sharing my experiences and what I find that may be helpful along the way I might also help another. If I have succeeded in even helping one other person then I am deeply blessed. I really appreciate you writing to me, it means so much to me. Take care honey…

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