Monthly Archives: December 2007

The price of neglect

On Friday I am having a tooth removed. More than seven years ago, a dentist said this tooth (a Second Premolar (Bicuspid), the one on my upper left) needed a root canal. I’ve had dental insurance, quite good insurance, too, but I kept putting it off.

The Saturday after thanksgiving, I had some leftover stuffing and noticed it was crunchy. I felt a sharp pain.  Days later, when I went to the dentist, he said the tooth was “obviously cracked” all the way down.

Instead of a root canal, which was fully covered under one of my dental plans, I am now having a tooth extracted. This will be the beginning of several surgeries in which the dentist will graft bone, install a titanium implant and then put a ceramic crown, or tooth on top. This series of procedures will take more than a year, including the time it will take to heal, and will cost more than $4,000.

Moral: don’t put off unpleasant but necessary maintenance, in your mouth, under your hood or in your home. These things never get better. Deal with the pain and inconvenience while it’s still small. I wish I did.

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