I celebrated an anniversary two weeks ago… The anniversary of last year’s disastrous American thanksgiving, when a slightly sensitive tooth flared up into a full-blown infection leading to the first of what would be many dental procedures over the next 12 months.
You see, for the 10 years before that date I had been avoiding the dentist.
Some of my favourite excuses were:
I know there’s stuff that needs to be done, but I don’t have the money.
It doesn’t really hurt that badly.
I don’t really need my teeth… I can just live off of milkshakes… they’re good…
But the truth was, I was just pretty scared of the dentist. Ever since I was a little kid, I hated it there. The sounds, the smells, they just made my muscles tense up.
Plus…there was the money thing…
So it was an occasion worth celebrating when, a year after that first root canal, I was CAVITY FREE for the first time in years. I had bitten the bullet, gotten the work done… and doggone it… it was worth it.
Well done, past Chris, you’re finally growing up into an adult.
And the very next morning after my joyous anniversary I woke up with a terrible toothache…
I won’t bore you with the emotional journey I went on. The sleepless nights. The useless days. Suffice it to say, it ended 5 days later with an emergency root canal.
My 6th of the year.
Happy anniversary to me.
How I became my dentist’s favourite client…
While I was lying in bed, an ice pack glued to my jaw, I was amusing myself by looking over my previous year’s spending reports (it sounds like productivity, but it was really just a break in an epic Rocky marathon… 1 through 6 baby!… except I skipped 5, it’s the worst).
Turns out this last year I spent 30% of my TAKE-HOME PAY on dental work.
That’s what experts say you should spend on housing.
This, my dear friends, is what happens when you decide that you ‘can’t afford’ to take care of your health.
Frugality, when applied to dental care, is stupid
No matter what you name it: frugality or fear… it’s dumb when it comes to dental care.
8000 Reasons you should go to the dentist…. right now
I wish I had let that sink in 10 years ago.
Every cavity I avoided became a one thousand dollar root canal (which needs another thousand dollar crown). The few hundred dollars that I ‘saved’ on a cleaning back then, has become 2 thousand dollars that I have to spend now that I’m older.
I wasn’t saving money. I was deferring spending. And the risk to deferring spending is that you’re trading a known cost in the present for a complete gamble in the future.
In hindsight, I couldn’t afford to do the amount of gambling I was doing.
8000 reasons I should have faced my fears 10 years ago
Pain sucks. Being uncomfortable sucks. Finding hundreds of dollars in a student budget suuuucks.
But I’ve spent 8000 dollars on my teeth this year. I’ve spent 8000 dollars at a point in my life when I’m trying to grow a business, to start a side business, to grow some wealth…
And that’s the bed I made.
So, dear readers, if you’re putting off your dental appointments for one of a thousand seemingly valid reasons…
Think about my 8000 reasons why you should probably just make the call.