I'm just getting started on several of the things that needed to get done today. (It's 11pm and I still have two loads of laundry on the clothesline.) I guess it'll be a long short night.

I went to the dentist this morning. The veridct? Could be better, could be worse. The tooth that was hurting needs a root canal and crown. And I have a couple other cavities that need filled. My gums are doing okay and if I floss every single day instead of just a few times a week, I'll be great.

I will definitely be investigating some more affordable options for the root canal and crown (thanks for the suggestions on my other post, everyone!), as the total estimate for the work they want to do in my mouth came to about 6 of Joshua's paychecks. I could cry. Actually, I did.

So... yeah. Let's just say I've had better days.

Lessons learned:

1. Don't skip dental cleanings.

2. Ignorance really is bliss.


I was actually getting ready for bed and remembered it was Thursday and your dentist appt. As you said, it could have been better or worse. At least now you know the reason for your discomfort. I would look into a clinic or school nearby. I have to believe there is help nearby. Let us know how you make out. I was also thinking of something else after my last post on this. Does Joshua's workplace have a Flex program for expenses not covered by health insurance? Just a thought. You don't have to put much aside per pay period and it comes out before taxes. In the long run, you would save money. :-]

you could move to canada, where they have health care:)

Also in Canada you could wait ALL day to be seen.
(I know a few Canadians)

National health care is not ALL that's its cracked up to be. I'm VERY blessed that I have health insurance thru my employer and I pay pennies for it. For my family it's $25/pay for a PPO. I also, work thru a health insurance co. When I first started it was free.


I have a friend that lives there and since it is free it takes so long to get anything done.A surgery that was an emergency got put on a waiting list.....Here that doesn't happen even if you do not have insurance.

I wish usa had it we have plenty of doctors here.I do not know if it would be different though."sigh"!

here in Canada - dental is not part of our healthcare system - you still have to pay for it or have it covered via work benefits. Since we pay - we make appts and there is no wait time - I had to have a root canal last summer - cost was $500 but my husband has work coverage.

And the wait time for surgeries is not due to free healthcare but due to lack of doctors. They all go to the US where they get paid more because there is no free healthcare.

But if you decide to move to Canada Tammy - we would love to have you :)

I live in Canada, and dental isn't covered, only medical.

I've used the flexible benefits programs for a 125 account. The money comes out pre-tax, so it really save about 15% on taxes. I'm not explaining it very well.

Also, is there a dental school nearby? I live near an excellent school and they occaisionally donate low fee work. It is well supervised by great dentists. My dentist has taught there for years. I'd go if I didn't have insurance. Just a thought.

And it sounds like a great idea!!!

We're going to look for a dental school within reasonable driving distance. :) I'm not sure what a flex program is... if it's just pre-tax it really wouldn't help since our single-income family of 5 doesn't earn enough to pay income tax. Oh, maybe this is a "flexible spending account" (FSA) -- I will have to look over the fine print with our health insurance and figure it all out. :)

Hi Tammy!

First off, glad you got into the dentist, it was rough I'm sure. But at least you know what you're dealing w/.

FSA'S are accts where you set aside a certain amount of money. With mine, we turn in receipts for rx, otc drugs, copays, other medical expenses.

I've also had one where we got a card of sorts. You were able to use it like a bank card. Took money directly out of the FSA acct. (that was NICE)

An FSA is a Flexible Spending Account--they are one in the same. You can use them for uninsured health costs, child care costs, and even for parking in some cases. It will depend how your coverage is set up. It is based on a 12-month period typically. I'm thinking you won't be able to do it until January '09 but definitely look into it. Your best best right now is to find a local clinic or school so you can get your teeth care underway. :-] It will all work out.

Sorry you had to get bad news like that...I've been through that enough times to know full well how *not fun* it is. :-P Will be praying as you and Joshua look into options. God WILL provide - remember that it's no surprise to Him. ::hugs::

Can you ask them how much a temporary filling would be? It could last weeks-or it could last years. My husband got by with a temp on his bad tooth for 2 years, by then we had reasonable insurance. Yay for healthy gums!

So sorry to hear that.

I know how your feel.

I will be praying.... that God would provide this need outside of your normal income.

I understand your tears too. It hurts to feel like you have to be the 'taker' in the family instead of the 'giver'. A strange 'woman thing' I think.

I also know when you are on a budget, it is discouraging to have a proverbial rock thrown in!

God is bigger than all of that!
Look at those 2 boys and precious new little girl and KNOW how big He is! Jehovah-jireh is yours!

I can't wait to see how He works this out for you, His dear child!

Again, I will be praying!

Tammy, I saw where you said something about not earning enough to pay taxes, but you do file, right? because with 3 children and a one income family you would get a good refund, I would think. You could use money like that for big things, also if you doont file you wont get a tax rebate check in May. We are using ours to pay for my husbands dental expenses. Also, years ago, I had 2 teeth pulled instead of a root canal. (the teeth were in the back and couldent be seen} also we didnt have money for that kind of expenses. Ive been blessed with healthy teeth , but not my husband.

If you don't pay taxes IN, you don't get money back. The system doesn't work that way.

A refund is a refund of taxes overpaid.

I understand how taxes work. I also understand that even my teenage son paid in enough to get back a refund. I know its not free money. I cant see not claiming what is ours.

I do believe if you have a low enough income, you DO qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit so it is worth filing. Also, this year you must file in order to get the so called economic stimulus rebate, and in their case, it would be $1200 for the parents and $900 for the kids, so yeah, they should file!

You can get money back even if you don't owe taxes. Earned Income Credit (EIC) is one way. It's given to low wage earners. It's a different amount based on income. There is also the Child Tax Credit where you can receive up to $1000 per child. Now people who don't pay taxes most likely will not get the rebate coming in May or only a small portion of it. It is based on taxes paid.

There are those of us, like my dh and I, who make too much to even get the stimulus package, or credit, so we don't pay so much in! I think I did see this when I did our taxes.

I think it's if you make under $12,000 as a single person. As long as you make under $37,000 (and change)you could qualify for this. I don't know about all your other specifics, so I can't say one way or another if you do.

When you filed your taxes, it should have said how much if anything you would get thru the stimulus package. usually if you don't pay income tax, you get money back from the state. I'm assuming you still pay state and local taxes?

And when you did the taxes, you could see if you got any child credit. Since it's past April 15, it's too late. But maybe for next year?


Hey, Tammy,

Just personal opinion here, but having a good friend at our church who is a dentist...much of the work we have done here in the US is cosmetic (and we all trust eveything our dentist ways, right?!). I had teeth pulled overseas (root canals aren't common in other countries) and have not filled cavities (even when we had the money). Sometimes a second opinion is worth it. Also, a mouthrinse mix of peroxide and listerine (follow directions) really helps. I reversed a botched root canal (actually, a pulpectomy) with a rinse.

We will be praying!

I would highly recommend that you Google "Root Canal Dangers" and "Root Canal Alternatives" before you make your final decision.

We've had some major dental bills in the past year as well for our large family. Not just basic dentistry but also 2 sets of braces that were not optional - cysts surrounding unerupted teeth kinds of issues. We, too, had not been to the dentist in several years due to finances. Not fun.....

We now have a wonderful dentist who is a more natural dentist who doesn't do amalgam fillings. He tries really hard to stay away from root canals, and when someone either needs or insists on one, he sends them to another dentist for that procedure.

I think some other options are to have the tooth pulled and then have a post and crown put in, rather than the root canal. I know one friend that went with this option and she was able to space the procedures out so she could gather the money needed to pay for each phase.

My mom's option was to just have it pulled as it was in the back and she didn't want to pay for a root canal. But, she's older and you're younger so the shifting of teeth would be a bigger issue for you. Thus the option for a post and crown to keep your intact teeth in their proper places.

May God give you wisdom as you face these decisions.

Recording the Faithfulness and Provision of God for Future Generations

We have a friend who is on SS and they do not cover dental... he had 4 impacted wisdom teeth. So he looked into the dental schools around here which are very good... but they were booked at least 2 months ahead. His own dentist told him the whole procedure would be over 2000.00, so he found a clinic about an hour away that would do it for free. I am not sure how he found it but I think it was sort of a "welfare" clinic... But they did take the teeth out and it was free of charge. So maybe there is some place like that around where you live. This place is out here on the east coast.
Good luck I had a crown and root canal done last year and even after the insurance coverage my "part" to be paid was over 1000.00.

You will find a way, you both always seem to find a way through.



I'd check with your local family service office (welfare). A family of five living on one income might recieve a particial grant or one time assistance package to help with the dental costs. I know in the state where we live some families can get help after they pay the first $600. out of pocket. Of course, every state is different but it is worth a try. If they can't help, they maybe able to refer you to someone who can.


Oh, I am so sorry about what you have to go through. That is almost exactly what happened to me :root canal, crown and two or three fillings. Those expenses just made me sick. After living so frugally, when this came up it was so discouraging! And I just felt guilty spending so much on a tooth!

Still, I agree with "D" above. Our God is so great. "The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him."

God bless you.

The bright side of things is Tammy is so frugal that I am sure we will manage. It is slightly depressing, but Tammy has a beautiful smile and her health is much more important than a paycheck... or a half dozen ;) Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers :)

Hm. I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm prolonging the root canal I "have" to get, so I understand some of what you're feeling. You know, sometimes churches and community colleges put on free dental clinics. My church does a dental "van" (it's really more like big trailer) for low income households twice a year, and I know the local community college does that through the United Way, too. I used to help them with interpretation and would see all kinds of people there. So I would think if you asked around and checked the newspaper ads you should find something.

BTW, not all root canals are emergencies. The one the dentist thinks I should get is for prevention, just in case it should become infected. Right now though, there's nothing wrong with it except a dead root and there's no guarantee that any infection will ever set in.

But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. --Isaiah 62:4

My husband just had his root canal removed because of the mercury in it and his tooth also had an abscess on it. Maybe you could look into getting the tooth pulled and getting a flipper- a temporary tooth. It would probably be around $500. Then later, get a permanent tooth when you can afford it. Just stay away from anything with mercury in it.

I agree with another poster who said you can have the root canal and have it temporarily filled and wait on the crown. I had a root canal several years ago and the doctor put a temporary filling on it. It NEVER came out! Just a few months ago I went and got a crown for it only because another tooth of mine had broken and the dentist said I really should put a crown on the "hollow" tooth. But my temporary filling lasted years! And you can get the crown when you can afford it. Hope you get it all figured out. Happy Pesach!

Hi Tammy,

I know just how much dental bills can be...

I came across a couple of articles the other day that you might be interested if you have the time to read them really quickly..


Tooth Truth:

I hope and pray that I never have to get a root canal. My teeth are not the greatest by any means though. I think I'd rather have a tooth pulled before I undergo a root canal...

I read some of the other comments and agree with a lot of them- get a 2nd opinion and look into the dangers...
Also dental schools might be a good and cheap(er) option for you.
I have some dental work that needs to be done now and I'm dreading finding out how much it will cost.
It's just 2 cavities and we can get the ceramic/non poisonous fillings thankfully!

Tammy, I'm sorry that I have no advice regarding root canals since I don't know anybody who has had one. However, a close friend, who had been diagnosed with gum problems, and told to floss daily, started using an electric toothbrush. I know that electric toothbrushes are usually really expensive (over $100), but this one was under $25 - Oral B Vitality. Since he has started using this toothbrush, his gum health has improved greatly - and even his dentists have noticed. I would hate to see you have more teeth problems, so I recommend this.

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Hope everything turns out ok.
You've inspired me to stop my year-long procrastination to go to the dentist and I've got an appointment next week.
I go by the philosophy that it's better to get regular (every year or so) check ups and have things taken care of before they get out of hand and expensive (and terribly painful, I admit I'm terrified of pain in the teeth department!). But I suppose that's easy to say when you live in France and regular check ups are paid for by your social security.
I hope everything works out well for you.

Take care

I do not have any health insurance and have had to have a root canal myself. Whenever i know something is wrong with my teeth i always call around to different dentists in the area and compare prices, ask about sliding fee scales, and let them know i do not have insurance and will have to pay for this myself. A lot of the time the dentists will give me a break on the costs of certain things, or not charge me for everything (like only charge for one x-ray when i had 2).
But usually the longer you wait before seeing a dentist, the more expensive your work will become. For example; it's a lot easier to have a filling then let the painful tooth go for a while and have to have a root canal later.

Dear Tammy, so sorry for the shock! Wow. Maybe the NHS isn't SOOO bad after all.

Joshua's comment was so lovely. You have a great husband.

Love, Lucy x

We were just talking about this yesterday. Sometimes it is better to just pull the tooth as often they find out the root canal did not work after they did it.
We have a dental clinic about 90 miles from here that is a community dental clinic for people without insurance. It is alot cheaper to get some work done like that. We also have friends that go up to Canada as the work is about half the price as here for root canals and wisdom teeth removal. However we live near the border so that is an option (it is less than three hours).

Just watch for infection! An infected tooth can be very dangerous and even go straight to your brain and cause lots of issues.

Oh, Tammy, I'm so sorry about this. I will pray that you find a way to get this fixed.


What a wonderful husband you have. :-) His comment was so sweet.


Everyone else had good advice so I don't really have anything to add in that area. Unfortunately we really don't have any options here besides paying out of
our own pocket. But the local community college here, I know you can get free (?) cleanings there although I'm not sure what else they may offer. It's been nearly 4 years since I've seen a dentist and while I think my teeth are doing pretty good (with good brushing they don't seem to be cavity prone) I do worry about other members of my family who do need to see a dentist. *hugs* I know how
you feel esp. about the cost, but I know that the Lord will make a way and may He give you wisdom to make the best decision.

Hi Tammy, I use to work with your husband and I went to dental school. He use to ask me questions all the time, lol. Well, I think your best is that if the tooth is in the way back you should get it pulled, my brother got his pulled because they didn't have dental insurance. Also, try to find a low income dentist. I go to someone who bases your bills off of your income and number of family if you don't have dental insurance. I only pay 20% of total bill, the only problem is there is usually a waiting list to get in. That might be your best benefit. Any questions let me know and tell Josh, hello.

Heather L.

Hi Tammy
We live in Canada... don't have coverage and it costs us an arm and a leg too. I had a root canal.... then needed to get the tooth rebuilt 5 years later.. It is my $2000 tooth I call it....I like my tooth but I am not sure it is worth that. I would seriously get a second opinion... husband was told he needed one and went back to the dentist the next year to be told he just need a filling!!! Other wise just get it pulled and get a flipper ( your kids will be so jealous of you :) cause you can take one of your teeth out). As an aside as far as teeth cleaning... have you ever thought of a mobile dental cleaner ... they come right to your house and clean your teeth in the comfort of your Kitchen !!!! Plus its cheaper :)

I work for a Christian dentist. When someone comes in that needs the work done that you do and does not offer insurance, he offers to barter. He is doing home repairs, so he has exchanged dental work for roofing, plumbing, tile work, even painting. My boss has traded dental work for everything from painting lessons, having a garden put in, quilts made for relatives for Christmas, and many other things. Perhaps you could find a dentist (maybe a single one?) who would barter dental services in exchange for meals you prepare and freeze for a specified amount of time. Just a thought.

I'm rather late in saying this, but thank you all for the many suggestions and comments regarding dental care! Right now I'm busy doing lots of reading and research about... teeth! :) I realized it was definitely time to get a little more educated! :)


I'm really late in posting this - but if you haven't been able to take care of your tooth yet I have an alternative for you! I had the same problem with a tooth - I put off getting a root canal because frankly I couldn't afford it!
Long story short I got the tooth pulled. Thankfully, it was one of the very back teeth. However, this only cost me $50 compared to thousands. And I don't really miss the tooth now at all. Hope this helps...


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