Author Topic: Mustachian Dentistry  (Read 5211 times)

Prepube

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Mustachian Dentistry
« on: September 17, 2014, 02:34:45 AM »
What kind of dental insurance plans do you have, and what does it cover?  I'm trying to decide what to do about this and it has always seemed so unnecessary.  Now I'm in my 50s and have no plan, but my teeth will soon reach old-man status, which in my family means they'll fall out.  How does dental insurance work? Is if different from other health insurances?   I read that there are waiting periods for different types of services?  WTF?  That's not "insurance" then, it's something else (I don't know what).  So what do you mustachian cheapskates do?  Avoid it?  Buy it (from whom?)?  Pay out of picket for each cleaning?

marty998

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 03:40:17 AM »
but my teeth will soon reach old-man status, which in my family means they'll fall out.

Loss of teeth is not hereditary. Don't want to oversimplify (sorry in advance) but all you need for good teeth is a good diet (low/no refined sugar), brush twice daily and floss regularly. Fluoride treatment and fluoridated water when young is good too (that may be a bit late for you if you didn't have it done).

Anyone remember 20 odd years ago there was a Wren and Stimpy cartoon where all of Wren's teeth fell out because he didn't floss like Stimpy? Out of all the hundreds of W&S episodes thats the only one I remember!!!

*sorry, editing this, I have to ask. Your over 50 right? Whats the go with the Prepube handle? Sounds like there's something totally messed up with that.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 03:42:39 AM by marty998 »

Blackadder

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 04:14:32 AM »
I agree to the tips of marty998 (good diet, brush twice daily, floss) and suggest the modified bass technique as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqCpZm6s_dE

First do the outside, then the inside, then the chewing surfaces. I recommend a toothbrush with a small head, so that you can reach your back molars properly. It also allows for also applying the technique to the back of your front teeth, which is difficult with a bigger toothbrush because of the curvature of your jaw.

When you're getting older, your gums will often start to recede, which increases the chance of losing teeth. This brushing technique helps against that as it's very thorough in removing any residues from the edges of the gums, while being very gentle (even massaging the gums a little).

By using the modified bass technique, I've stopped my gums from receding, and have reduced plaque to nil. At the last two yearly checkups, my dentist didn't find any plaque at all. And when I asked about my yearly professional cleaning appointment, he actually said I won't need it, there's nothing to clean. Yay, healthier teeth AND $$$ saved.

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As for the original question, I'm not living in the US, but around here, dental prostheses aren't included in health insurance. You can purchase extra "insurance", but I'm planning to pay for this kind of expense out of my own pocket. My family hasn't the greatest teeth, but mine are healthy so far. Also, I think that almost everyone who reaches a certain age will need some kind of dental prosthesis some day, so those "insurances" are really more of a distributed rainy day fund, in which case it's probably cheaper to save up the money yourself.

Treatments like cavities, root canal, etc. are included in our health insurance, however, so I can't give you a lot of advice about those.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 04:18:05 AM by Blackadder »

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 04:36:35 AM »
What Blackadder said, plus brush for long enough.  I bought an electric toothbrush (silent auction fundraiser, normally would not have) and it times me - 30 seconds for each part of the mouth.  Two minutes are a long time when you are brushing your teeth.  This does such a good job that my gums were better at my last checkup, and I am now scheduled for 9 month intervals instead of 6.  If you are using a manual brush I would go even longer than 2 minutes - set a timer for, say, a minute, for each 1/4 of your teeth.  And don't forget to brush your tongue.

My Dad had dentures when he was my age.  I have all my teeth (plus a few crowns, root canals) - dental care is just so much better now.  No need to loose teeth if you look after them. Five minuets twice a day is not a huge time investment, and the payoff is enormous.

Blackadder

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 04:43:39 AM »
The dentist who taught me the modified bass technique actually recommended against using an electric toothbrush (the argument was lack of control/pressure IIRC). But we're just two data points, so -- who knows. It's just important not to apply too much pressure, no matter what kind of toothbrush you use.

I must admit that it easily takes me 4 or so minutes to brush my teeth, but I agree with RetiredAt63 that it's more than worth it.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2014, 06:02:58 AM »
Using an electric toothbrush after using a manual takes some changes in habits.  Now I basically just hold the toothbrush very lightly against my teeth and let it do the work.  My dentist and dental hygienist are both happy with the results, so my technique seems OK.  I am going to start the modified Bass as well.  For that I will have the toothbrush off.  I brush my tongue with it off as well.

The dentist who taught me the modified bass technique actually recommended against using an electric toothbrush (the argument was lack of control/pressure IIRC). But we're just two data points, so -- who knows. It's just important not to apply too much pressure, no matter what kind of toothbrush you use.


Fatso

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2014, 06:14:13 AM »
I'm a true believer in dental insurance. As someone who has a sweet tooth, and the bad teeth gene, my insurance has saved me a few times. I have a metlife plan through my employer that I pay bi weekly for. My normal health insurance also has a dental rider attached to it. No matter what I do, whenever I go to the dentist I have issues.

I would definitely recommend it. Health of your teeth/gums has an impact on your overall well being. Dental work tends to add up quickly. A couple fillings here, a root canal there, maybe a crown or bridge thrown in. You're looking at thousands of dollars.

Clearly the verdict is still out on electronic toothbrushes. I have a philips sonicare I got as a christmas present. Although replacing the head every six months is costly, my teeth have never felt better or looked better. Usually a good deal can had through sunday coupons or a website like slickdeals.

FoundPeace

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2014, 06:30:03 AM »
Not having dental insurance can be risky and may lead to lots of pain. While going through college I didn't have dental insurance, so I would look for deals. Usually you can get a new patient deal where the x-rays are free, you get a free tooth whitening, etc. when you pay for the cleaning and exam. The only problem is that most of these dentists aren't the best (otherwise they wouldn't be desperate for new patients). This lead to me getting a bad tooth filling that gave me an absessed tooth that needed a root canal (expensive).

I won't be going without insurance again (if I can help it).

boarder42

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2014, 06:33:11 AM »
its called floss. 

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2014, 07:04:47 AM »
Here is the way I have treated dental insurance:

If you have a job and they pay for x % of it (where X is at least 50), you are better off taking the insurance as you will get enough in benefits to justify it.  If you have to pay all of the premium, such as self insured, you would be better off saving that money and self insuring.

For sure worth it to get at least 2 cleanings a year. I normally do 3 as I can get a lot of buildup no matter how hard I brush.

starbuck

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 07:08:45 AM »
I signed up for dental coverage last year, and it's been well worth it for me. I needed a bunch of work done (fillings, two root canals, a crown) that I had been neglecting. Just had a cleaning last week, and got a clean bill of dental health. Woo hoo! My dental insurance is $20 per pay check, with 26 paychecks per year. (There's a more basic plan for $12/pp.) No co-pay for cleanings, and I pay 20% of the allowable for fillings, and 50% for root canals, crowns, surgery etc up to $15,000 per year. I'm about to get my wisdom teeth out, and then moving on to orthodontics. The only waiting period my insurance has is for orthodontia - 12 months.

My spouse does't have dental insurance, and his medical insurance covers two cleanings a year with a $25 co-pay, which is all he needs.

If you're getting regular cleanings and there are no complaints from your dentist, I say keep doing what you're doing. Insurance makes sense for me because of all the dental work I had put off out of fear. In a few years I'll probably drop it though, since my primary coverage includes preventative dental care.

I use a sonicare toothbrush, and I absolutely love it. It feels odd to go back and use a manual toothbrush now.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 09:01:55 AM »
I used to have dental insurance.  I had a fair amount of work done through it.

When I did all of the math, figuring all of the premiums, copays, annual maximums (usually $1000), my conclusion is it was all "smoke and mirrors".  Now I just put $25 per paycheck in a "dental fund".  There's $1100 in it right now.

Look at the risk it transfers ($1,000 or the annual maximum)

Minus the costs (premiums plus copays)

You might decide to self-insure.

mozar

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 09:16:55 PM »
If you don't want to buy insurance you can call around to different offices to see if they give a discount for cash. I once even got a discount for having a triple A card.

Prepube

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2014, 02:28:11 AM »
Thank you to all the folks who responded to the dental insurance question I was asking.  To the others, I promise I have been brushing and flossing for about fifty years and don't really need that kind of help (but thanks anyway). And to whomever it was that said bad teeth are not genetic, that isn't true.  Genetics plays an important role in most bodily functions and failures thereof, and there isn't a doctor out there who wouldn't agree with that statement.  Additionally I was an idiot before age thirty five, and smoked a lot of cigarettes, which damaged my gums and I am sure helped my genetic predisposition for bad teeth to be a more likely outcome.  The teeth are fine now, but I am expecting problems later.

I am self employed and about to retire (I'm 53 and hope to quit by 57).  Policies that one can buy outside of the employer-provided kind are expensive and have interesting riders re: limits on dental care depending on how long you've been insured.  If I needed an emergency crown or root canal tomorrow, I would have to pay out of pocket, and it would be covered by my HSA account (or I would just pay for it some other way).  My question is aimed, I guess, at other self employed or self insured folks who have shopped policies recently, and I am curious what others have found is the cheapest way to remain covered in an emergency and get preventive care like cleaning and gum treatments in expensively.   

Ozstache

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2014, 04:05:49 AM »
I brush twice a day and floss once a week or when food gets stuck in my teeth. In the last 30 years, I've had a grand total of 2 fillings and otherwise perfect teeth. If you look after your teeth, you shouldn't need any significant dental work done once all your childhood teeth faults have been corrected.

mozar

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2014, 08:33:16 PM »
OK, so I googled dental coverage and the ACA
https://www.healthcare.gov/can-i-get-dental-coverage-in-the-marketplace/

If you really want to go cheap I see new patient specials for different places for 50 bucks. That's what my mom did for me when I was a kid. We would drive someplace new every year. Otherwise it costs about 300 bucks. Again, ask around for discounts for cash. And you really only need to go once a year. Dental coverage can cost around $20 a month so 12*20 = 240 so you come out about even.
And even if you had insurance it would likely only cover half of the cost of surgery which would probably equal out to what it would cost if you were getting a cash discount. Catch my drift?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 08:34:49 PM by mozar »

mozar

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Re: Mustachian Dentistry
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2014, 08:38:17 PM »
Prepube. Ozstache. Oztralia.
Finally get it...