Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Worst $700 I Ever Spent

Let's play a little game.  See this mouth?  How old would you expect this child to be?  Five?  Six?  Even Seven?


Nope, this is my three year old.  Let me tell you what happened and then I'll tell you about how the money comes in.  A few weeks ago, I was changing Little Buddy's diaper (poopy of course) when and Munchkin Girl was in the other room, looking out the front window, hoping her little friends were going to be coming out to play.  I heard her fussing in there.   Not crying, just almost like whining.

"What's wrong?" I yelled.  "What are you fussing about in there?"

She came running in and honestly I expected something stupid.  Like a dead fly on the floor or a hair in her mouth.  Instead, her front tooth was sticking straight out all weird.  She reached up and I yelled, "No!!  Don't pull!!"

Yet my three year old yanked her own tooth out, right before my very eyes.  Blood started gushing and I was elbow deep in a poopy diaper so you can only imagine the mass chaos that ensued.

Somehow she had knocked her tooth against the front door while looking out the window.  Don't ask.  I'm as confused as you are about what happened.  Anyway, we had the tooth fairy come.  We told her how cute looks and how grown up she is.  We went to the dentist.  He took X-rays and assured us that there was no permanent damage, but that it would likely take 3-4 years for the permanent tooth to come in.  He did say that we could have a fake tooth made.  He made it sound super easy...no anesthesia, nothing permanent, just quick and painless!  

At first we didn't even consider it, but she kept looking up at me with sad eyes, and saying, "Mommy?  I can't chew my food very well.  I want my tooth back."  So I finally talked to her about it.  I explained that the doctor could make her a new tooth but it would take awhile and might hurt just a little bit. She agreed that it would be worth it and was so thrilled that ran around yelling for days, "Guess what?!?  I'm getting a new tooth!!"   

It wasn't a bad process to have it made, but then it came time to check out.  As I've said before, I'm a bit of a dingbat.  I started to walk out without paying or anything.  I figured insurance would cover everything and they would bill us later for the difference.

"Ma'am?" they yelled.  "We need to charge your card.  That comes to $350."

"I'm sorry?" I sputtered.  "That wasn't my understanding."

"Oh yes, you pay the other half when the tooth comes in a few weeks."

I about peed my pants.  $700 for a new tooth??!?!?  The dentist didn't mention that part.  He made it sound sooo easy.

Fast forward again to two weeks later when the tooth finally arrived.  Of course, by now Munchkin Girl is used to her missing tooth and she's telling me that she doesn't need a new one anymore.  I figure she'll be happy when she sees the new one in her mouth and we head out for the dentist.  We arrive and it is the scariest-looking contraption I've ever seen.  Wires wrap around the back teeth and then a long wire goes along the back of the rest of her teeth to keep in the fake tooth.  She looks terrified and I don't blame her.

I whisper in her ear that I'll buy her a new doll and a cookie if she's brave.  She lays down, but clings to my hand.  They struggle with getting stupid thing in her mouth and when it's done, she's like a caged animal.  She's squirming and screaming, "Take it out!  I don't want a new doll or a cookie!  Just take it out!!"  That's when I knew she meant business.  Since when does she not want a new doll?  Or a cookie for crying out loud?!? I've never seen her like this.

Now, what's a Mom to do?  I've already spent $700 on the stupid thing.  Yet, the only reason I even did it is because she said she wanted it.  I honestly don't care.  I think she looks kind of cute with a missing tooth.  Yet now I'm torturing her and traumatizing her and she'll probably hate the dentist for life and frankly it doesn't look that good anyway.  The color doesn't even match. 

"Let's take it out," I said softly.  "We're not putting it in.  We'll call you if we change our mind."

And that's how I spent $700 on a fake tooth that is now sitting permanently at the dentist's office instead of in my daughter's mouth.  Yet I know with 100% certainty that I made the right decision.  Sometimes you just gotta trust your gut, even if everyone, the nurses, the dentist, everyone, thinks you're crazy.  Plus, it makes a great story.  And she looks cute as a button with her missing tooth...and just think how fun it will be when her new tooth comes in!  It should only take about four years.

Of course, if I had to do over again, I would ask more questions.  But you live and learn, right?



Don't forget to check out my new book!  It will seriously help you save your sanity.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  It was released in July, 2012 and was co-written by me and Susan Case, a Kindergarten Teacher.  We worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!


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16 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness. The dentist should have been upfront about the cost, as well as the part about wiring up a 3 year-old's teeth. I'm sorry to hear it was such a traumatic experience from start to finish.

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  2. Oh my word...that is crazy! I hope she forgets all about the scary contraption and has good dentist visits in the future. Sheesh, I can't believe they didn't even tell you the price!

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    1. Thank you so much! I know, I wish they would have told me the price too!! :-)

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  3. Well I'm glad you wrote that because my three year old has a discolored front tooth from a bathtub accident. It's still in there, but now it has decay and he needs " work done". They have to sedate him because he won't let them look in his mouth. We have dental insurance but it looks like it still might cost us quite a bit. If they have to remove it well, now I know what a fake tooth entails. You're not alone, and I'm glad to hear we're not the only ones with a wonky- toothed kid! ;-)

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    1. Wonky-toothed kids are the best! :-) I just hope it doesn't happen with their adult teeth! We can only hope, right???

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    2. eustaciavye - I had something similar happen when I was about 3 years-old. Fell on my face running and knocked my tooth on the pavement. It turned black/dead and looked just terrible (there is photographic evidence, unfortunately). The dentist said I would either have to have a root canal or just wait for the darn thing to fall out. It fell out a little sooner than my other baby teeth, but ended up being just fine. All of my adult teeth came in normally and it never caused me any trouble, other than the aesthetic issues. As someone who was on the receiving end of a discolored/dead tooth, I say if it's not bothering him, just wait it out!

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  4. Sister, you have my sympathy. I, too, have been flabbergasted at how expensive 15 minutes is at the pediatric dentist. Yikers! What is that flouride treatment made out of? Unicorn tears and angel feathers? $65 for 1 oz painted over 4 teeth? Anyway...we are all doing this for the first time. You didn't know what you were dealing with until you and your precious daughter had to go through it. So no worries about your decision. You made the best decision for your daughter. And from now on, you have some hard-earned wisdom to share with other moms.

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    1. Haha...unicorn tear and angel feathers! I love it!!

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  5. My daughter had a discolored front tooth, but we were told not to worry about it unless it got infected... which of course it did. So we had it pulled when she was 3 (she's now 8). We decided not to pay for a fake tooth, but I will say that you should prepare you child when she is older, because the grown up tooth will hurt coming in since it will have to cut through all those gums that have now healed. And the new tooth will probably come in crooked for the same reason. Ah, fun times at the dentist!

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    1. Wow, really? I hadn't thought about that part...but I'm so glad you warned me!

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  6. Wow. You definitely did the right thing and that smile is adorable. But boy would I be frustrated with losing $700. Who knows, maybe in a year or two, before her adult tooth grows in, she'll want her tooth back and BAM, you have one ready to go.

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    1. Thank you so much my dear!! And you're right...at least we are ready!! :-)

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  7. Hi...my son knocked his tooth out at the age of 3..he is now 6. Our awesome dentist told me about having the option of getting him a fake tooth, but I couldn't justify the cost ($250). She said it was purely cosmetic and the impression I got from her without coming out and saying it was, it really doesn't matter...he looks cute without the tooth. Fast forward 3 years...and the tooth still hasn't come in but you know...we are totally used to it. He looks so cute without it and I think it is going to be weird seeing him with a front tooth.

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    1. Wow, I wish my dentist would have told me that! But I'm so glad to hear your story! Thank you!!

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  8. That's hilarious!!!
    But I think you could have gotten him down a bit on the price by telling him that nobody said anything about $700! We received a surprise bill in the mail for $1200 from our kids' dentist once, and from then on, I asked about EVERYTHING. And it was even an optional procedure, of course! He wanted to know if there was a problem, and I said that if I choose to spend $1200 on anything, I have to discuss it with my husband first. My husband was upset with me, and the problem was that I didn't understand that I was agreeing to that charge. So the dentist told the secretary to take our insurance as payment in full for the rest of the year! WOW! Can you believe it?
    It taught me to speak up, even if I feel like I'm being a little bit cheap. It's no fun paying for dental work!
    Heidi Butkus
    http://heidisongs.blogspot.com

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  9. I have four bridges in my mouth b/c I didn't have permanent teeth come in for them... And that contraption you described is seriously scary sounding! No way would I let that near me, especially at that age... And then you said they didn't even match her tooth color? For 700 bucks??? Mine have lasted me almost 20 years and they match my tooth color and are cemented to the tooth next to it, for the same price!

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