AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR $6,000 (without pictures of either)
February 7, 2012
AN EYE FOR AN EYE, A TOOTH FOR $6,OOO
Last March, I got a new tooth and a new eye.
The eye—okay, a lens—involved one renown surgeon, my insurance company, and a very small co-pay by me. The tooth involved two teeth men.
One was a dentist. Mine. He put in the implant.
The other was an oral surgeon with a high-floor office, in a high rise building, in a high rental district on the Upper East Side. He pulled out the old tooth.
My health insurance did not cover their fees. The cost of these procedures was more than $6,000.
Before my dentist put in my new custom-matched tooth, I had my six-week post-surgery check-up with the oral surgeon. He looked inside my mouth and told me everything looked beautiful.
So did his office. It looked different. Better.
“I just got all new high-tech equipment and had the place painted,” he said.
Just meaning after he pulled my tooth. That he yanked with old equipment. Other patients benefited from his new, improved state-of-the-art toys.
I paid a portion of his bill. I have paid off my dentist. I need cleanings. I need him. I have dental issues. They include: breaking teeth. With my most recent break, I negotiated. I told him if it was going to be costly, I’d have to go to a dentist on my university health plan or to someone with a jar of glue who could simply glue my tooth back in. He took a look. He said he’d glue. He did. It cost $100.
He claimed this break was cleaner. Really? Maybe it was. Or maybe I got smarter.
I’ve paid the oral surgeon more money. His monthly bills continue to arrive. I’ll continue paying. Hopefully I will be done before his next renovation.
Meantime, can’t someone figure out a system to put teeth doctors in their places?