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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Root Canal: Whatever: Frugal Ratios

For some time now, I've been dreading an inevitable event: my latest root canal. It's not the pain, since, unlike in days of yore, root canals are now relatively pain free. No, it's the money. About $1200, I think. That's without the crown. Luckily, as my dentist said, I already HAVE a crown on the tooth in question, so that's a savings (so to speak) right there.

Of course, my flex account will be out of money, because we had to contribute for 6 months only this year. I don't know if I can hold out till July 1 (when I may be in France! Maybe I should have my root canal there).

So, why does the cost of dental work make me so miserable? All my acquaintances are resigned to the inevitable. I am miserable BECAUSE I am frugal. Yes, dental work wreaks havoc on my frugal ratios.

To wit. A normal person rents a tuxedo for son's prom. Cost: around $100.00. The ratio of tux to root canal is 1:12. that seems right.

I, in contrast, got that tux at a thrift, and spent $20.00 on the whole outfit. Therefore, my tux to root canal is 1:60.

Then, I got my daughter some Citizens of Humanity jeans for $5.00. Retail is about $150.00. So, while the regular ratio is 1:8, my ratio is 1:240.

Even food gets into the act. I've been spending only about $100/month on food, since I am still trying to use up all my stockpiled foods (plus, we have garden greens). I can buy a YEAR OF FOOD for the price of the dental work.

And, saddest of all, I don't even want to think of how many hours I must work to pay for the procedure. It seems that my frugality on zillions of little things makes the cost of things that are out of my control (and for which there is no easily available frugal substitute) seem even more expensive. Oh, misery.

Do you ever figure frugal ratios? Watch out. It's addictive and--sometimes--dispiriting.

7 comments:

Saleem said...
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Shelley said...

I don't do the ratio calculations exactly, but I do make comparisons like how many months of food I could buy. I simply begrudge giving money for some things. The price that the 'market will bear' is sometimes nearly more than I can tolerate. However, you pointed out to me how important my eyesight was, so I will remind you how important your dental health is. If there is a way around this, I've no idea what it is. Having never had a root canal or a crown I don't know what is involved...do without the tooth? Just think of it as maintenance work or something...

Duchesse said...

When you had your children did you deliver them yourself? Perhaps you might take out your own appendix, it's been done. I wouldn't begrudge the cost for expert, pain free medical procedures. If you are truly opposed to paying this fee, you inquire about discount dentistry at the nearest university with a dental faculty.

You can't compare buying a pair of jeans to a root canal, and that's why sales clerks earn less than dentists.

As for having it done in France, what you are having is minor surgery, but surgery all the same. If (small chance but it happens) you need further medical care for complications, do you want to go through that away from home?

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--Don't worry! I'm going to do it. I just have very poor endodontist options here. No-I plan to keep the tooth. I've had dental issues for the past few years--hopefully, your teeth will not give you trouble.

@Duchesse--I intended to write a humorous piece on how big expenses were magnified for me because I spend so little on most things! Sorry if what I thought was humor did not come across.

Duchesse said...

Sorry if my comment, intended as humour (in the first two lines) did not come across either.

Terri said...

I've been going through a root canal myself, though luckily I have dental insurance. another way to think about it is that not doing it can be very costly to one's sense of comfort and overall health. You need that tooth to enjoy your food.

Funny about Money said...

Totally agreed: dental costs are outrageous. Probably not as outrageous as health-care costs would be if we didn't have health insurance. But...dental insurance isn't very good -- doesn't cover much more than routine care, which you can pay for yourself by self-escrowing a few bucks a month. But the real procedures: ouch!