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When it rains it pours
Old 10-27-2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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When it rains it pours

Just a reminder of why it's important to LBYM and plan for unexpected expenses in retirement or semi-retirement. I was just starting to think it would be possible for me to come in under budget for 2009 living expenses. So much for that idea. Sunday morning I woke up to a dead 6 year old refrigerator, $500 later and lot of work it's replaced. Next day, I lose a filling in a molar and the dentist says it's time for a crown, est $1400. Not that I believe in such things but I am wondering today what is the number 3 item of bad luck going to be
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:32 AM   #2
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Hi Shotgunner,

I know what you are going through. About a week after I retired, a crown in my mouth fell out. During the visit to the dentist, ended up I needed a bridge -- around a $1000 expense. Of course, didn't have dental insurance during that time. Then the transmission of my car went out. Had to get that fixed also.

At least for my annual budget, I have a category to save for unexpected reparis (for example, $100 a month for car repairs). That way, when Murphy's Law hits, the cushion softens the surprise a little.

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:37 AM   #3
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I am retiring in less than two weeks. I think that one of my teeth with a cap on it is in trouble, and have to see a dentist. The best case would be that the cap is just coming loose, but naturally I fear it could be a lot more expensive than that. But I have included a certain amount in my yearly budget to cover unusual expenses like this, so I am not concerned.

Unexpected large expenses do come up now and then for all of us. Probably once you think about it, you will realize that you have already included them in your planned ER budget. Sorry that you had two at once!
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:37 AM   #4
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last crown ($1400) I had done needed a root canal (another $1200); then the root split within a year and the tooth needed to be pulled ($250) and a bone draft done to set up an implant ($1400). Implant will run around $5k putting the entire cost of this ONE TOOTH to about 10k!!

If my dentist proposes any more crowns I am going straight to a implant.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:44 AM   #5
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Talk about dental work, it appears to me that dentists should be making a lot of money compared to general practice MDs. Many years ago, I read about dentists lamenting that their income was declining due to American public dental health improvements. Obviously, that was not true or has been reversed.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:47 AM   #6
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Talk about dental work, it appears to me that dentists should be making a lot of money compared to general practice MDs. Many years ago, I read about dentists lamenting that their income was declining due to American public dental health improvements. Obviously, that was not true or has been reversed.
My dentist isn't cheap, but I think he earns every penny. This is especially true when you consider the cost of maintaining an office, receptionist, and hygienist, not to mention malpractice insurance and the cost of keeping up to date in his skills and knowledge of dentistry. He pays a lot for someone else to make those crowns - - he doesn't get to keep much of that $1,400.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:58 AM   #7
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I recently had a deep cleaning. It cost $600 total, for two sessions each lasting 30 min. It was done by a dental hygienist, not the dentist himself. And I think other dentists charge even more.

In contrast, my family doctor charged around $80 for the last consultation which lasted perhaps 15 min. My friend recently took his adult son who did not have insurance to a doctor. The cost for the visit was $47 paid in cash. Yet, doctors have to maintain offices, staff, etc... And I would think that doctors may be more susceptible to lawsuits, and their insurance premium might be higher.

Just some observations from an ignoramus. I have become more aware of the health care costs ever since we were on our own and did not have Megacorp's benefits.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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I recently had a deep cleaning. It cost $600 total, for two sessions each lasting 30 min. It was done by a dental hygienist, not the dentist himself.
If you don't live in a high cost area, you should look for another dentist, pronto!

My *expensive* dentist charges $95 for a cleaning by the hygienist. Well, it's a little more for those who have dental insurance, but I don't so he gives me a discount. My friends won't go to him because that is so high. Even if it took two sessions, it wouldn't add up to $600. He has brand new high tech tooth-cleaning equipment, too that he just got a couple of years ago - - I don't know if it uses sound waves or what (didn't ask), but it seems to help the hygienist a lot and makes the experience less grueling.

My internist charges $120 for a five minute, "how are you feeling, your lab work is fine, here's another prescription for Vytorin" type of appointment.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:14 AM   #9
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When I RE, I purchased a high-deductible indiv. health policy but no dental insurance. I budgeted for expected dental costs. The first time I visited the dentist (for routine stuff) without insurance, I was taken aback by how much more the bill was. I asked if they give any type of cash discount or could offer me any other suggestions, but they said no. This was disappointing to me as I have been a patient there for many years.

So, I went out on the internet and started researching discount dental plans. I ended up finding one to which my dentist belongs, costs me around $100/year, and saves me more than that in reduced costs. So now when I see my dentist I get a much reduced bill. The way I calculated it, even if I just go twice a year for routine stuff, I'll save more than the $100. Then if anything bigger pops up, I'll save even more.

I find the whole situation really frustrating - I would have rather paid a more reasonable amount to my dentist and foregone the discount plan. But I guess either they were unable or unwilling to negotiate anything for patients without insurance, so this is how it has to be for the time being.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:27 AM   #10
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If I had a single tooth that was to require $10K in dental work I would have it pulled unless it was a tooth that made up part of my smile.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:35 AM   #11
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I know how you feel about things happening . I have a large surplus this year and I'm itching to spend some of it but in the back of my mind I see car repairs ,home repairs and other unknown problems.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:35 AM   #12
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My *expensive* dentist charges $95 for a cleaning by the hygienist.
I don't think we are talking about the same thing here. With a deep cleaning, they had to numb your gums and dig deep around the teeth. I have had this procedure done before at another dental clinic and it was always much more expensive than the routine cleaning. It should cost more, but I don't know why so much more. No, I believe my $600 bill is competitive as I have researched on the Web.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:42 AM   #13
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I don't think we are talking about the same thing here. With a deep cleaning, they had to numb your gums and dig deep around the teeth. I have had this procedure done before at another dental clinic and it was always much more expensive than the routine cleaning. It should cost more, but I don't know why so much more. No, I believe my $600 bill is competitive as I have researched on the Web.
I had something like that done. They called it scaling...my dentist handled the procedure. I think my cost was about the same as yours.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:00 AM   #14
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Just a reminder of why it's important to LBYM and plan for unexpected expenses in retirement or semi-retirement. I was just starting to think it would be possible for me to come in under budget for 2009 living expenses. So much for that idea. Sunday morning I woke up to a dead 6 year old refrigerator, $500 later and lot of work it's replaced. Next day, I lose a filling in a molar and the dentist says it's time for a crown, est $1400. Not that I believe in such things but I am wondering today what is the number 3 item of bad luck going to be
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I know how you feel about things happening . I have a large surplus this year and I'm itching to spend some of it but in the back of my mind I see car repairs ,home repairs and other unknown problems.
Yep...I hear y'all. This is the first year of retirement for the both of us. We were coming in under budget. I was dancing a jig.

Then we decided to put new flooring in at a cost of $8.5k. You notice stuff around the house that drives you crazy when you're home more. If nothing happens before the end of the year we should still be fine with our budget.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #15
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I don't think we are talking about the same thing here. With a deep cleaning, they had to numb your gums and dig deep around the teeth. I have had this procedure done before at another dental clinic and it was always much more expensive than the routine cleaning. It should cost more, but I don't know why so much more. No, I believe my $600 bill is competitive as I have researched on the Web.
Oh.... oops! sorry. I didn't realize that there was a difference.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:08 AM   #16
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No problem. Blessed are the ones who do not know about "deeep, deeep cleaning".
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:15 AM   #17
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Over the past 2 months, my car broke down (twice), the garage door opener stopped working (gear stripped) and our oven stopped heating up properly. Close to $2,000 total for these repairs... so far.

But our 2009 budget was already busted anyways due unusually large charitable contributions, higher than expected travel expenses and helping my mom buy a new car. We seem to be about 18% over budget this year... Ouch. But we are doing our part to help the economy recover.

NW, I have had that kind of deep cleaning done before, and paid around $500 for it (2 sessions of 45 minutes or so). Mine was done by a dental hygienist too.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:42 AM   #18
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Sunday morning I woke up to a dead 6 year old refrigerator, $500 later and lot of work it's replaced.
They never break on a business day.

What was the problem? $500 seems like a great replacement cost, especially since you had no time to shop for a deal.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:32 PM   #19
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Yup, that's the latest scam at the dentist. They call them "pockets". My DW went in January and the first thing they hit her with was a $1600 cleaning. This was also not done by the Dentist. 45 minutes latter she was done. By the time the Dentist was finished it cost me $10300 for dental work.

A few weeks ago I went to another dentist and the first thing he did was start reading out #'s to the hygenist. He asked me if I knew what he was doing counting out like that. I said yes my SIL's brother is in periodontist school. Next thing I know he said I didn't need the $1600 cleaning just the normal one. I got a kick out of that. I think he wanted to punish me for knowing so I just got done with a root canal. (heh)

I'm about 13K for dental work so far this year and it really hurt my budget. I was really trying to stay under the 95% rule but that didn't work.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:48 PM   #20
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Yup, that's the latest scam at the dentist. They call them "pockets".
It's no scam. I have had gum problems on/off for more than a decade, despite spending more time brushing and flossing than anyone I know. I have very few cavities, and good teeth otherwise. Periodontal disease is hereditary, and I happen to have a bad gene. Sigh...

So, I let the cleaning lapsed for 2 years, and ended up losing a molar, the #14. The root was infected and there was no way to save it. It never hurt until it was too late for me to notice. I believed the dentists when they said I needed frequent cleaning, but was just too lazy to come in.

Still have not decided whether to have a bridge or an implant. The gap is not obvious due to it being on the upper jaw. I am still recovering from the fact that my goal of dying with all my natural teeth has been shattered. I can stand reasonable pain, but hate to see any part of me mutilated, and that includes loss of a tooth.

So, just pay for that "deeep cleaning" and open wide.
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