Wednesday, July 22, 2009
There's only one thing worse than going to the dentist: not being able to afford going to the dentist when you need one.
While the health care crisis is a hot topic these days, people remain tight lipped about the dental crisis looming in America.
Most basic insurance plans offer a dental option. You pay $30 - $50 a month extra and if you're not denied coverage because your teeth are a preexisting condition, you may be reimbursed $20 for an $800 root canal. A moot point since you can't afford a basic insurance plan in the first place.
Dental work often costs more than medical procedures, and it's pretty much pay to play. Even if you give up food (which you may have to do anyways for lack of teeth), anyone struggling financially, will have to find new and creative approaches to oral emergencies.
After years of financial and dental decay, I've compiled a comprehensive list on how to ease the physical and emotional discomfort of poor dental health.
Cavities: If only all dental problems were this easy. Just fill the cavities with gum (preferably sugarless) or wax. A nice peppermint scented candle will freshen your breath at the same time.
Exposed nerve/root canal: Again, wax or gum fillings can be lifesavers, protecting the nerve from excrutiating contact with air. If the pain persists, thoroughly rinse your mouth with cheap vodka before swallowing. It works as both a numbing and antibacterial agent. If symptoms persist after numerous applications, find the nearest dental school and make an appointment for their free group training sessions. Make sure to bring an iPod to drown out the screams.
Tooth reconstruction, implants, crowns oral surgery: This stuff really adds up. Often, one simple procedure can cost more than your entire Citicard balance. If you can find a willing periodontist to marry, this may be your best option. Check the phone books and start calling around. You'll still need to pay for crowns, lab work and dentures, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to the periodontist fees. And now that you're married to a doctor, at least you have a breadwinner in the family to pay for it.
If you can't find a suitable periodontist and you're good with your hands, try carving teeth out of ivory, plastic marble or clay and engineer something with paper clips and crazy glue.
If none of these options work, you'll probably have to settle for some superficial adjustments.
Practice talking with your mouth closed. (link to learning ventriloquism).
Wax lips are an inexpensive way to cover up a hole in your smile, and some women pay thousands of dollars to get the exact same look. It's also an inexpensive replacement for lipstick (a near match for NARS Tango).
Wear a surgical mask when you go out in public. Your friends may think you're weirdly germaphobic or mourning Michael Jackson if you wear it in black, but at least they won't think you're broke. It will also protect you from swine flu.
Browse the novelty stores for an attractive set of vampire teeth. They're reasonably priced at $3.29, (versus $50,000 for six new upper teeth if done professionally). What with the popularity of Twilight and vampires in general, you can smile in style.
Fashion yourself a grill out of tin foil to hide a vacant or chipped tooth. It's a lot edgier than flashing a toothless grin or snarl.
Avoid all activities that involve smiling or laughter. Better yet, avoid anything that requires any facial movement and you'll also save yourself thousands of dollars in future Botox and Restalyne treatments.