So as part of my “being an adult” new year’s resolution, I made a date with both my dentist and my doctor a couple of weeks ago. Which included a) Finding one that seemed legit, b) scheduling the appointments (after making sure they accept my insurance, of course) and finally c) showing up.
It’s that last part that’s the least fun :(
But, I sucked it up and did the deed. You already know the outcome of the doctor visit (the whole “high blood pressure” thing – which I’m currently working on, and well I must say!), but the dentist one was a whole other story. In a nutshell I was reminded how much of an idiot I was for for skipping out on 3 years worth of biyearly cleanings. The convo with my new dentist went like this:
“Well, the good news is you have no cavities. The bad is that a few of your teeth need “deep cleanings.”
“Woohoo! No cavities!”
“Yes, but had you been doing your yearly visits your teeth would be in even better shape”
“Well I thought as long as I was brushing twice a day, as well as flossing AND using anti-cavity mouthwash I’d be cool? What else could I do to prevent it?”
“You could come in twice a year for your cleanings.”
“Okay okay, I get your point. It’s just that…”
*gets cut off*
“The cleanings are important because no matter how much you brush, and how “awesome” you are at it (she literally did the air quotes), you can’t reach all the places that need to be cleaned. Even *I* have to get my cleanings done each year – and I’m a dentist!”
BAM! It was that last line that really hit home with me. I mean, I know you *should* get cleanings and do all that stuff, similar to the yearly *cough* *cough* physicals all us men have to do (you guys know what I’m talking about), but at this stage of life I need to better understand how it directly affects me or it’s liable to get swept under the rug with all of life’s other creepy crawlers… Especially if I think I’ve found a way to game the system (ie *not* doing stuff, haha…). But to hear even dentists need to get check ups now rules that out completely! If they can’t get around it, how could I?
So needless to say I’ve learned my lesson. Not only because of this epiphany I’ve now experienced, but also cuz it affected my wallet too! That “deep cleaning” I now had to do? Oh, it wasn’t covered by insurance. Shocking, huh? Apparently there was some problem with it and I had the lovely option of either waiting 18 months to get it done for free – I think cuz of a “pre-existing cause” or whatever – (it was my first time using this insurance in 3 years), or paying now and moving on with my life. Which was the route I decided to take in the end. And counted it under the “you learned your lesson” category to better hammer home the point.
And that point has more to do with *smart maintenance* in general, than it does a dentist visit. Maintaining our bodies, our relationships (how much do you dread doing that “catch up call” with a friend because you’ve slacked for so long?), and of course with our MONEY. You can set things on autopilot and hope everything remains kosher over the years, but it’s better to check in every now and then and REALLY make sure stuff’s exactly where you want it to be. There’s no real short cut to it all.
This goes for:
- Budgeting (of course)
- Paying attention to those investments
- Keeping our cars/homes/boats afloat (see what I did there?)
- Watching our career paths and salaries/raises
- Updating insurance and wills when major life changes occur
- And everything else that helps drive our lives and our money…
We tend to think we’re smarter than we really are with this stuff – and that bad things “won’t happen to US” – but the truth is we need to watch our backs good. Even if it’s something as small as setting up a monthly reminder to log into your bank/investment accounts and make sure things look in order. Or reviewing your credit card statements to make sure the Target hackers haven’t shopped on your dime, or even stolen your identity and having the time of their lives (it’s a good time to get that free credit report, fyi).
Basically you don’t want to push things off or ignore ’em until they become “a thing.” Things are the worst. And unfortunately this dentist one isn’t the only one I’ve let creep up on me :(
I’ve also been a bad boy reviewing my business income/expenses all year because I’ve let automation and laziness get in my way throughout. That’s what happens when you use awesome services out there – you slack on your diligence! Every month I say I’m gonna spend 5 mins reviewing the numbers over at Outright.com (the free service I use to manage my biz money), and every month I push it off until I’m staring at 12 months worth to do come tax time, ugh… Honestly, I’m an idiot – I don’t know why you read this blog. Now I’ve come quite far from 2011’s fiasco of *manually* managing it all (THAT was stressful), but still. You’d think someone who can stay on top of their personal finances can do the same for their business ;)
So today’s takeaways: Do all your life maintenance, and do all your financial maintenance as well. The more you stay on top of it, the less problems/stress/surprises you’ll have to deal with later. And the crazy part is that it really isn’t that hard at all! Most of this stuff literally takes minutes, if not tens of minutes, and you then avoid the entire set of problems whatsoever. I don’t know what’s wrong with us, haha…
Oh well, it is what it is. Now I’m off to go check on my blood pressure and see if all this firing up here will affect it or not ;) Doctor says to track it at different times of the day to get a good average going (I picked up one of those home devices), so we’ll see if it does! Here’s to a smarter 2014!
Photo by Donald Lee Pardue
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ummm… wow … reality really bit for you today. So yeah? why DO I read this blog??
I have to agree with you – this year i went for an automated-linked-to-the-bank-account budget/expense tracker (very neat technology) but now I have lost sight of all the transactions. Maybe the manual spreadsheet is the one way to really stay on top of it all.
AND you just reminded me to stop procrastinating on cutting an unwanted service that is costing me $$s every month! (oh … that’s why I read…).
I hope all your plaque (both in your veins and on your teeth) goes away quickly.
Haha, thanks… and your point about all that automated technology is exactly why I like to manually track my finances too. I’ll get lazy and lose control if I didn’t! The only thing I like to automate is bills, outside of my mortgage. I still like the sting of manually sending in my mortgage payments ;)
Many, that “catch up call with a friend” line really hit home. I’ve been REALLY slacking in keeping in touch with people recently and I’ve definitely gotten to that point where I almost feel embarrassed to call some of them because it’s been so long. Definitely a big weakness of mine. Thanks for the reminder buddy. Better late than never right?
One of the tricks I’ve been doing is just texting them every now and then :) Or shooting them a link to an article I think they’d enjoy. That way we have some touch points and it’s not *totally* a lost cause, haha… but it’s hard to remember to do even that all the time.
Ha! Love that she did the air quotes around awesome. I need to find me a dentist who does air quotes… or maybe air guitar. I’m pretty sure I’m about due for a cleaning myself.
Hey good for you for getting in to see both your doctor and the dentist! I don’t know how your insurance works, but we’ve got dental insurance through my employer that completely covers cleanings twice per year (well, maybe not the deep cleanings). So there’s no excuse for us not to get the cleanings since they are free! We just have to haul our butts there and sit in the weird dentist recliner chair. You may want to check into that if you haven’t already.
Oh, I get the same free cleanings/checkups too w/ my insurance (that I buy myself since I’m self-employed), but this dang deep cleaning messed everything up… Will be going back in a month or so for a check up, and if all is good I’ll be back on the fast track of free bi-yearly cleanings again :) That’s what I get for slacking all those years!
I agree with Dee. Most plans cover at least 1 or 2 cleanings per year. You’re already paying for it! Good luck with the deep cleaning. My cousin made this same mistake (I think for longer than 3 years) and had a disgusting visible build up. The deep cleaning was painful.
Can you email my wife and let her know she needs to stop putting off going to the dentist? Would appreciate it. I agree that there needs to be a fine balance between automation and actually paying attention… for this I set quarterly review sessions for some things, monthly for others. Works for me.
I also had to get a “deep cleaning” when I skipped out on the dentist for three years. I had no cavities, but the deep cleaning – Most. Painful. Thing. Ever. My gums were sore for days.
And I’m glad to read that you are getting a handle on your high blood pressure. It’s nothing to mess around with. My mom had a mini stroke this year because of it. Keep up the good work!
Yeah, it def. wasn’t fun that’s for sure.. Had a major headache for a few hours (and couldn’t feel a thing with all that novocaine!) but fortunately I was back to normal the next morning. It could have def. been worse from what I hear!.
I think you wrote this post for me sir. ;) I’ve been putting off going to the dentist for the past year or so, with the excuse that I don’t have time when it’s really that I don’t want to deal with the cost. Sort of ironic, huh? We just finished maxing out our HSA two weeks ago, so I think and certainly hope that it can sustain a trip to the dentist. ;)
The dentist is my least favorite docs, but still try and go at least once a year for check ups. My wife has been putting it off for some time and finally went and know we are looking at $2k worth of work with insurance. Ouch!
Ouch indeed! Sorry to hear, my friend :(
I have always thought doctor and dentist visits were odd. It’s the only service or product that people go into without having ANY clue what they are paying. The vast majority of people just go and cross their fingers that insurance will cover all of it or at least most of it. The bill is always a surprise.
So strange. It is one area of my life where I plan on figuring out the costs beforehand from here on out.
“It’s the only service or product that people go into without having ANY clue what they are paying.” Haha… so true unfortunately!
For many this points back to the cost/benefit analysis. Most people (myself included at times) will just look at the upfront cost and decide against it to save the money. But, the benefit of the item/service far outweighs the cost. Sure going to the doctor might cost you your co-payment or more if you lack insurance, but making sure you are in good health saves you tons of money over not going to the doctor and letting your body fall apart over the years.
“We have to watch our backs good”. SO true, J. We had to learn our lesson the hard way regarding finances in this area. By telling ourselves “everything’s fine”, and not doing that maintenance check, we were in super deep before we took the time to really assess things. Much like a dental deep cleaning, I suspect, the cleanup has NOT been fun.
I usually go to Yelp to look for reviews on doctors/dentists and it generally works out. I actually found my dentist on Yelp, but I’m not thrilled with her because she is *too nice*. She has never once told me to brush my teeth or floss more even when I feel her putting her back in to her work, and then she never tries to up sell me on things I keep asking about (like tooth whitening or a night guard). I never thought that too nice would be a problem!
Good reminder about preventative maintenance. I don’t think I’ve been to a general doctor or even an eye doctor in over a decade but I should really get over whatever fear or laziness is preventing me from doing so and get my butt in there.
HAH! You’re right – too nice isn’t always best with health stuff :) I’ve had similar dentists like that over the years, but thankfully my last two pretty much give it to me straight. I hate hearing it, but at least I know what to do in order to get better!
I skipped going to the dentist for one year and got a similar speech. Then they proceeded to dig into a cleaning of the likes I’d never care to experience again. My mouth literally hurt when they got done. Now I schedule my next cleaning before I even leave the dentist’s office…
Ugh, thanks for the reminder that I need my teeth cleaned! I had $17,000 in dental work done last year (someone rear-ended me and knocked out my two front teeth so I had to get dental implants and all fake porcelain veneers). I’ve been avoiding the dentist ever since….
OMG are you serious??? That’s the most painful thing I’ve ever heard, jeez!!! So hope things are back to normal in that department as close as possible, ugh… I’d stay away from them too, what a nightmare :(
I used to go to the dentist every 6 months, but unless you have dental problems or serious health problems, most are fine getting yearly cleanings. I brush every 8 hours, and floss, scrape my tongue, and use a water pik daily. Most importantly, I stopped using fluoride 15 years ago and only use dental products containing no SLS. Also, when you get X-rays, make sure the tech covers your throat to prevent damage to your thyroid.
Like a lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs, I have no dental insurance, so everything is out of pocket. I live in Georgia where a lot of insurance companies do not offer dental with health insurance in this state for the self-employed. Instead, they offer discount programs that top dentist are NOT a part of.
Covering your throat? I’ve never heard that one before, but better to be safe – yes. I bet there’s a ton of little things we can do to protect ourselves more than we even know of. Can’t do everything though :(
My employer provides dental insurance. So I go to the dentist 2x a year. I love my dentist. That being said, I did not have insurance growing up, so my mom had to pay for our dental out of pocket. It was expensive, so I didn’t go very often. Really thankful I have insurance now.
At the ripe age of 15 I got my first root canal. It was at a time when I counted on my parents to schedule my dentist visits for me. Rather than being responsible and making sure a cavity was taken care of, I sat around until it festered and turned into terrible pain. Eleven years later, that tooth died, and I had to have it extracted on my own dime. I spent all of last year saving up for a dental implant. Not how I had hoped to spend $1300 (and that was the dental school price!). Lesson: Start learning to maintain your life EARLY!
Ick! A great lesson to learn – thanks for sharing it with us (though next time leave a much more fun way to spend $1300 will ya? ;))
Great reminder that regular life maintenance is important! Now to convince my spouse to get into the dentist’s chair..
Here’s a tip: get naked and/or offer alcohol. Or both! ;)
That’s how I try to do things as well. Of course all the advice you’re going to get from someone who’s trying to sell you something should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s always very important to see what those with lots of knowledge do for themselves and their families
You like to do things naked and.or with alcohol?
3 years with no cavities is still pretty good though!
Good metaphor for our financial lives, J Money. We need a deep cleaning once in a while. Though, I wonder, ought we hire a professional to do so…l
Right there with ya. This summer finally went to the dentist after a good 2-3 years (Hey, I’m busy, it’s last year of undergrad. Hey, I’m busy, it’s grad school. Hey, I’m busy, it’s my first year in the real world).
Needed the deep cleaning – cost me something like $80. Then I needed cavaties filled. Like many cavaties – minor ones that the doctor said could be monitored, but still likely will need to be filled eventually. I got the worst one taken care of and hope the next time I go in that the others are still not bad. But, hey, at least I’m back on the righteous path!
Yes you are!! Keep it up on schedule now and we’ll both have our smiles for many a moons to come, hopefully! :)
Darn it. This post made me realize I need to go make a date with my dentist. I switched dental insurance recently and have no idea what it will cost, but I need to go anyway!
Speaking as a dentist myself, your dentist is absolutely correct! Get’em cleaned every 6 months.
Speaking as a guy who is very fit and healthy, yet had 2 heart attacks last year, GO TO THE DOCTOR EVERY YEAR! I didn’t for about 10 years and it caught up with me. Don’t know if they would have caught anything if I had gone, but I would have been more aware of my high blood lipids.
Live and learn.
I still can’t believe that :( And actually that talk we had helped prompt me to take this health stuff more seriously too! When crazy stuff happens to healthy people you KNOW no one’s immune from problems… You just stay better for a while now, okay? :)
Will do. I don’t anticipate any problems from here on out. My stress level is better and my cholesterol is excellent now. I think it was just a bump in the road to catch my attention. I plan on being around for a loooooong time!
I think my episode prompted a lot of people I know to pay more attention. Glad I could be of service!
I can’t tell you how many patients put off eye problems and then come in when it really starts to hurt or get very blurry. Things are always easier to fix preventatively than when you’re trying to play catch up. Since I’m from Kentucky and we are not known for having full sets of teeth, I am trying really hard to take care of the ones I have. Southern accent with bad teeth is just a joke waiting to happen.
Oh man, eyesight scares the crap out of me… that starts getting wonky and I’ll go in ASAP!
Ugh. I used to be a regular dentist-goer. Every six months like clock work. I was last there April 2013 because that was my scheduled six-month check-up, and my benefits ran out by August 2013. My benefits were supposed to kick in by August 2013, but they’re dragging their feet like crazy (going on five months since my “hard line” – yep, I’ve lost all credibility as a hard-ass). I *hope* it happens in the next month or so – and then I can get my six-month check-up a bit late ;) And it will stay regular after that.
Oh man, stick with them!! I know how brutal it can be, but boy is it worth it in the end… I hope things get settled soon for you!
I have health insurance but not dental so its been a while since I had a cleaning. I had a group at the time so it only came to $50. It was only like $100 if I paid for it completely so I really need to get on that.
Funny how sometimes it just takes a certain wording or phrase to really get a message across, huh?
Am curious as to how many people actually get annual physicals – esp in NZ. I don’t know anyone who goes for regular checkups.
A scary amount I bet! I mean, we had to go ALLLLL the time in school cuz we were forced when playing sports/etc, but one you’re out on your own it seems no one really talks about it? Or they only go in when something’s wrong and know knows what they’ll find!
I’m taking this as a big ass wake up call for me and getting my $hit done right… It was fine when the only person that was counting on me was me, but now with kiddos it’s a whooooole other story. Gotta be around for them and watch ’em grow! (And teach them how to be sexy with money! :))
I am terrible about cleanings for myself…the kids go 2x a year. And hubby goes 3x a year! But our dental insurance stinks and it only covers $8 of an adult cleaning. So I tend to go cheap when it comes to this. But you have inspired me to go have a cleaning done. I think it has been at least 2 years…maybe 3….
oh wow, really??? is it a special cleaning or weird insurance or something? I was under impression that all “routine” cleanings were free by law or something, so that’s weird… but YES! Please go! Make this finance blogger happy knowing his post paid off! :)
My new year’s resolution is to visit the dentist. In high school, I saw this dentist that was the devil in disguise and it was like he was torturing me when he was cleaning my teeth. It felt like he was pulling them out. It hurt so bad that I started crying. I have been scared of the dentist ever since. Two years ago, I finally got up the courage to go to the dentist for the first time since high school – 9 years since my last cleaning – and he was the nicest guy ever. I only had one cavity which is pretty good for 9 years without a cleaning (especially since I’m pretty lax on the brushings, rarely floss and don’t use mouth wash). I didn’t need a deep cleaning either. The lady that cleaned my teeth was very gentle and I got to watch a movie while she was working so I distracted the entire time. Unfortunately, I lost my health insurance two weeks later and canceled my next appointment. I never got my cavity filled. It doesn’t hurt so I’m hoping it didn’t get too bad. Now that I have health insurance again (thanks Affordable Care Act!), I need to schedule an appointment and get my teeth fixed. The sooner I do it the better off I’ll be.
Awwww please do!!! And I hope you get the same awesome dentist, or a diff awesome one! I hate it when people screw it up for others :(
Oh dear! I had one period of time where I missed maybe a year and a half and that was bad enough. I have a friend whose teeth are, how shall we say, fucking disgusting! He has insurance and now just puts it off because he knows how bad and embarrassing it’ll be to finally get in there. Best to be a man and get it over with, I say.
Dentists are always so logical… Good for you for getting in there. I feel your pain and will be sitting in the chair next week. Apparently keeping your gums healthy is supposed to help keep your heart healthy too.
Good luck managing the blood pressure and happy new year.
Thanks man! Welcome back :)
I’ve never even heard of a deep cleaning before. As someone who has also forgone the dentist until my body dictates I have to (ie toothache), you’d think I would have run into this. Sounds a little odd to me, but what do I know, I’m not a dentist. Of course, I’m usually just bitter about the whole cleaning process in general. I sit and get the nooks and crannies prodded/stabbed and then get scolded for having bad dental hygene because my gums are bleeding. I then think, I’m pretty sure your gums would bleed too if I stabbed them repeatedly. ^_^
hahaha…. well, to be fair mine would bleed all the time too and then once they told me to start freakin’ flossing routinely it’s pretty much stopped :) Even when they poke around all scary like they do!
Ok – here’s how I got over my dentist-phobia (after a horrific experience getting my wisdom teeth pulled, bad reaction to the drug used, ended up sicker than hell and in the ER). I swore I would let me teeth rot and fall out before I EVER went to the dentist again – and then I learned – your dentist can prescribe you ativan (or something like that) to calm your anxiety before you start hyperventilating at the very thought of your upcoming appointment AND once you’re there they can give you something (twilight sedation) so you don’t even care, much less much remember what they did. I am NOT a big one on drugs, but those 2 things have saved my teeth and me a lot of grief. Dentists deal with this kind of thing all the time so, no, you won’t be some weirdo if you ask for these AND you’ll be doing yourself a world of good for having done so.
I include sedation dentistry in my practice and it makes a world of difference for those who are extremely phobic. Not all dentists offer it, but when you find one that does it can be a real life (and tooth) saver!
I’ve found that once a patient has been through sedation once or twice, the fear tends to go away or be greatly reduced. Some even eventually get their work done without sedation because they’ve grown much more comfortable with the situation.
Thanks for the tips and advice guys – I had no idea!!
This post is a great reminder for me. I am definitely due for some life maintenance–my husband and I need to get our life insurance and wills in order. We’re not trying to put it off, but other things somehow seem more important. It’s time to make it a priority!
My dad didn’t go to the dentist for 20 years (yes, 20 years!) and didn’t have a single cavity. He did, however, have to spend hours in the dentist getting his teeth cleaned. He went in every two weeks for months to get all the plaque removed and teeth back into good shape.
Oh, wowwwwwwww…. what got him to finally come in?? haha…
Yikes, I think it’s been 4 years for me (with the exception of getting my wisdom teeth checked — they had to be taken out!). I’m officially insured again as of 1/1 so I need to get my dental info and find one that takes my insurance!
I didn’t go to the dentist for 5 years thru college and I just finished paying for that mistake. Root canal and handful of cavities later I go every 6 months like clockwork. Maintenance of any kind is such a fun suck pain it the arse.
Ouch :( Another good reminder for everyone reading this though! This stuff is no joke!
Argh, I just went to a new dentist. First time in a little over a year. My wife was in the same boat.
Worst part, she comes out with no cavities.
I end up having a few.
And I’m the one who flosses every night, not her. Not too happy about it.
Haha, that does suck…. Want to know what’s worse, though? When you’re wife taunts you because she has a better credit score!! When she doesn’t even pay attention and it’s her FINANCE blogger husband who does and thinks of everything!! haha…. fortunately the last time we checked I had re-gained my crown ;)
My mom made me go every 6 months (and still reminds me) and said because it’s paid for by insurance, it would be a sin not to go! She was always about being your best so you could do your best. It’s great to always remember that small preventative checkups prevent the bigger hiccups along the way!
Ouch deep cleaning! Dentists visits are already not so fun! I’m surprised actually that you haven’t been since you pay for the insurance…but then you don’t use the benefits? I figure that since I pay for it I’m going to make sure I use up all the stuff entirely 100% covered. That means 2 dental cleanings, 1 x-ray, one physical, and anything else considered preventative.
Well, that’s because you’re smarter than I ;)
I go to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings, the dermatologist at least once a year for a skin check, the eye doctor for an annual eye exam and my physician makes me get an annual physical or I can’t be in her practice. Oh and of course the annual visit to the gyno. Being healthy requires a lot of doctor appointments! I can’t imagine how many I would have if i weren’t healthy!
Yeah it does! But good for you on making sure they happen!
I’ve been really thinking of visiting a dentist this month. Been quite busy for some time I forgot to do my personal stuffs like visiting a dentist. Been having problems with my teeth also.
Glad you’re “being an adult”. Just taking care of ourselves alone is a job. Our gadgets would remind us every five minutes that we need to do something just to stay status quo. Since you’re busy working hard being a better person, I found a free tip on Twitter for you from Dr. OZ that deals with blood pressure (which you mentioned in a previous post). I can’t say your dentist will like it when you visit but oh well (get it. . .garlic).
Here goes. . . @DrOz 3m ago
To lower your blood pressure, try replacing your salt shaker with a garlic and herb spice. This can save over 600mg of sodium per serving.
Yikes!! Haha… If I still used my salt shaker I’d give it a shot though :) I literally haven’t touched it in weeks, and while I miss it, I’m surviving okay it seems… everything’s just so bland!
Oh man, It’s tough when a garlic eater comes to see me for dental work! Oh well, that’s what masks are for.