Monday, October 08, 2007

$576, a crowned tooth, and the world

Good Morning World,

So much for a weekly update, but then I remember: the only thing worse than not blogging at all is blogging about how little one blogs. So having said that, I have a purpose for today's blog, a new travel challenge:

Where can you go for $576 and dental care?

I went to the dentist last week for the first time since 1999, and I remember why I go so infrequently. After a superficial cleaning, tinkering and x-raying my pearly whites, the dentist came in for his three minute appearance. "That tooth there," he said, motioning to a molar, "that's cracked. If it splits, it'll be a root canal. You oughta put a crown on that."

A few minutes later I was looking at the projected costs: $576 plus tax. Luckily, I have "great" dental insurance, otherwise I'd be paying twice that much. Alas, the job that includes "great" dental insurance doesn't provide so much in dispendable cash. It'd be several months of Top Raman for me to pay that off.

Then again, I like to travel and nowadays, as my summer showed, look for "reasons" to travel. And what better reason to travel than to get your teeth taken care of!

A few months ago, an adult student of mine who'd arrived only six months earlier from Russia told me about his dental visit. "A thousand dollars for a crown!" He said in complete disbelief. "For a thousand dollars, I can go back to Vladivostock and have a crown put in there!" (We thought it out a bit more, and concluded that it'd be tight, a thousand dollars was a bit optimistic to get Vladivostock.)

Thus, my first thoughts when receiving the bill: how much is it in Canada? I know there are doctors and dentists in Vancouver who specialize in treating foreigners, charging sums ($100? $200?) that Canadians think outrageous Yanks a good bet. Same with Tijuana, though I have friends I can visit in Mexico City and just flew back from there for $220 -a round trip could easily be less than $550. Or I could go back to Cuba, though I couldn't get there for $550 even by a long stretch of the definition of "$550". And too bad my insurance is so good, I'd love to go to Vladivostock, have my teeth crowned and Vitaly (Hey Vitaly, email me! I might be in town...)

Usually, I've heard about these cases involving stingy retirees with boatloads of money and time traveling the world to get their dentures cleaned, but why not a young bloke like me? Afterall, if I have to spend $576 to have my teeth drilled on, I might as well enjoy the locale.

So I think that'll be my next travel assignment: go somewhere to have my tooth crowned and spend less than $550 doing it (I know the projected cost here was $576, but I have to save some money doing it). It'll take me a couple months (it's not urgent and I do have to work) but if you have any information on such trips, be sure to help out!

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