Hello & good morning! I’m so happy to be 100% again. I’ve been recovering for the past few days from a wisdom tooth extraction and a root canal retreatment, so I’ve been a little out of it.
Since this whole dental stuff is fresh on my mind, I figured there’s no better time than now to talk about some important things – real life things – that might help you as you attempt this thing called adulthood.
Well before we begin, here’s the tl;dr of my horror story at the dentist. I went to an awful (and probably fake) dentist who completely botched my root canal and had to wait eight months to get it fixed. And what did I learn in those eight months? A whole lot about dental insurance, that’s what! So here are some tidbits that you should definitely know if you ever plan on taking your dental health into your own hands.
- Dental insurance covers more when you go in-network. As someone who has never had to deal with insurance, I had a lot to learn about insurance. The first thing I learned was that dentists operate either in-network or out-of-network, meaning either they have or don’t have a contract with your insurance company. When you go in-network, your insurance is willing to pay more of your dental bills. It’s kind of like a thank you for shopping within our network.
- Insurance does not foot the whole bill. Again, I had no real understanding of insurance until now, and what I have come to understand is that insurance pays for a portion of the bill based on what you get done. For example, my insurance only pays for 60% of the cost of a root canal procedure on a molar. If you need to have a simple tooth extraction, insurance will pay for 90%, but if you require surgery to remove it, it will only pay for 60% of the operation. Moral of the story: don’t assume that the cost of any major procedure will be covered by insurance.
- If you don’t want to get screwed over, consider having consultations with multiple dentists. Lucky for me, I had eight months to look for a dentist. In that time, I went to other dentists with my symptoms and asked for their opinion. I got a pretty clear answer for why I was having so much pain in my root canal tooth, so when I finally settled on a dentist, he came to the same conclusion as the other dentists, so I knew he wasn’t making up anything. Also, most consultations are free, so it doesn’t hurt to get second opinions.
- Go with your gut. This is a less factual tip than the ones above, but I still think it is a valid way to protect yourself in the real world. I had a gut feeling that the “fake” dentist was not a good dentist. He was impatient, uncooperative and careless, and it ended up costing me. My new dentist actually took the time to go over the procedures with me and talk through my options, and in my gut, I knew that I was making a good choice when I picked him. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing.
So trust me, I know that it’s scary to venture out into the real world and to start handling things on your own. Hell, I almost cried a bunch of times because it was so frustrating to look for a new dentist. But it’s so important to learn about these things that will make a huge impact on your quality of life and well-being. Plus knowledge is power!