On money, teeth and sticker shock

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For someone who hates paying full price for anything, I get tremendous coupon guilt.

Take, for example, the free dentist checkups T and I got this month. (Seriously, if you need to visit the dentist because you haven’t been in years and aren’t up for paying $100 or whatever the regular fee is, check out ezycoupons.co.nz. We went to Royal Oak Dental, which is close to us, but there are many others offering free appointments for new patients.) It felt just bizarre handing over a printout and then walking out again. I almost feel like I’m stealing, or cheating the dentist out of a professional fee.

Then again, given the fact that I was quoted over $300 for one filling and a cleaning, and T $1500 for three fillings, a cleaning and a wisdom tooth removal, maybe not.

I’ve always had fairly healthy teeth, and T had major dental work in the army, but she seemed surprised at the fact that our mouths were in a good state, given it had been at least four years since either of us got checked.

Seriously, this would be my first filling, and it’s not just reluctance to part with the money that is driving me to put this off for as long as I can. I’m going to see if I can get a better deal on a cleaning elsewhere – maybe at the AUT oral health clinic, though the gas alone would probably nix any savings.

As for the boy – ???!!!!!!!

I also didn’t really like the dentist who saw us. If I’m going to let someone poke around in my mouth, I’d prefer it to be someone who was a bit warmer towards me. (Granted, nobody likes working a Saturday morning, but oy, I work both weekend days, every week. Someone always has it worse). And of course, being a dentist, she just had to ask me if I’d ever considered braces. Right?

Look, I’ve had braces. I had the worst buckteeth you could ever imagine as a child. They got them a hell of a lot straighter, but they’re still not completely even. It probably doesn’t help that my teeth are all kind of small, for some reason, and different sized…I think of them as childish rather than grownup teeth.

But I decided not to go ahead with another round once I got the first set off. I was sick of wearing them, and I felt bad about how much they were costing my parents. Likewise, that was a big part of why I told them I didn’t want to go to One Day School when I was younger – I worked out how many hours my dad would have to work to pay for it, and felt so bad about the cost.

ANYWAY. While I am often self-conscious about my teeth, I’m happy enough with them. I have about a billion other things I’d rather spend hypothetical thousands of dollars on, and certainly don’t want to be 20-something and still wearing braces. I just don’t like to be called on it.

Ummm…so anyone have tips on saving at the dentist? How much should you pay for braces?

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4 thoughts on “On money, teeth and sticker shock

  • Reply Stephany August 18, 2010 at 13:30

    Save at the dentist? Health insurance??! LOL. I have none, so I haven’t been to the dentist in a few years. We do have a dental school around here that you can go to, but I’m a little wary of going to one of those for some reason.

  • Reply Revanche August 23, 2010 at 12:59


    Seriously, floss twice a day. Dentists are hard to save money at, so the best thing you can do is take really good care of your teeth betweentimes.

  • Reply findingserenity2010 September 9, 2010 at 15:33

    I just stumbled upon this post and, let me tell you, nothing’s worse than finding yourself a poor 20-something whose parents were too lazy to take you to the dentist when you were younger, when you had the insurance to help pay for it! I’m still paying off some routine procedures to repair my horribly soft teeth, as well as my braces.

    My teeth aren’t going to be perfect when I get my braces off, but I’m going to be much happier simply being able to floss and not having a gross overbite. And I second Revanch: Take care your teeth while you’ve got them! Believe me, dentists won’t get any cheaper …

  • Reply Insurance. It’s a gamble « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander September 28, 2010 at 23:22

    […] my recent rant about dental charges, someone suggested looking into insurance to save on costs. To which I scoffed (mentally) But I […]

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