The first part of this blog is about an experience many of us endured in our early-to-mid 20s: have your wisdom teeth removed! If you’ve been through this type of medical procedure, it is something you do not forget. I remember sitting in “the chair” having mine being removed way back when I was young!
In May of 2019, I took my Arin to have her wisdom teeth removed. I also remember taking my son Nick to get his out too awhile back. I can’t remember the date, but I’m sure he does. I do remember how he reacted to the “laughing gas” it was hilarious! Jake, are you next? I promise I’ll be there for you, too!
Some quick research found that scholars say (I personally don’t know who these scholars are), we have wisdom teeth as the evolutionary answer to eating raw meats, vegetables, and roots. (Well now, I did eat meat back then!) These third set of molars grow in some people between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five, or the wisdom years.
Did you feel you had wisdom between the ages of 17 and 25?
I don’t believe during those years in my life I was wise! In fact, I’m hoping that to this day, every day I become a little closer to being considered wise. Here are ways for me to practice: put things in perspective, balance my world, keep my power, and think before I speak! Like Mr. Rodgers (AKA Tom Hanks) reminds us to always use the acronym:
WAIT: Why am I talking?
However, when teeth aren’t being to kind to their neighbor, and the time to go has come, they need to be pulled out! So, what will this procedure cost and what will rehabilitation look like?
From a quick review of costs found online, a simple removal can cost $75–$200 per tooth. Sometimes the teeth are impacted and cannot break into the jaw through the mouth. If impacted, removal can cost $225–$600 per tooth. So the cost range here is (x 4 teeth) $900 – $2,400
Luckily, none of AJ’s were impacted! She was quite pleased the clinical staff saved her pulled out teethers as a gift she could bring home, display, and brag about!
I found out some surgeons will offer a discount for removing all four teeth at once, which can save $1,000 or more on the average cost of wisdom tooth removal surgery. Now, can you see where and why the costs can vary?
There are a few additional costs associated with wisdom tooth removal, including the initial consultation, which for Arin’s procedure cost $100, and prescription medication for pain, and a special mouthwash for pre-and post procedure care, total cost ~$10, I was surprised in our Rx plan 20 Hydrocodone pills cost less than $2 (specifically the cost was $1.82.)
Out of pocket costs are different alright
Keep in mind when I’m costing out care or prescriptions, I’ve been trained to rely upon what a person would pay out of pocket (which means no health plan insurance, no collateral resources such as Medicare/Medicaid, nope, not even VA benefits). However, I can refer to these resources if it makes sense to do so.
My daughter agrees, and I somewhat recall from way back when I underwent the procedure in my early 20s, the recovery process is “a lot worse” than the actual procedure. Your face will enjoy lots of ice compresses. Rehabilitation involves time and follows basic self care, including how to de-stress your body when it’s trying to heal itself.
Coloring does relieve stress!
Thankfully, we have a good dental plan through my husband’s employer (and Arin is still on it); and just as importantly, she is really good with making and saving money. Using her debit card the morning we arrived for the procedure, she paid the $750 that insurance didn’t cover. A few weeks after, the explanation of benefits from Delta Dental arrived in our mail box; and I noted the total for the procedure: $2,015.
One reason I’m costing wisdom teeth removal in this post is to let you know I like doing it (costing out care and writing about it!). I can help you help your client who does not need a full blown life care plan. Perhaps, a specific cost of care report would serve beneficially during litigation.
Need costs of care during litigation?
Here’s a little bit about a recent case I was involved in: I was hired by an attorney to help him help his client. His client was a dentist (an oral surgeon) who had (because I’m not a doctor, I’ll describe the diagnosis in lay terms) ended up with: one bad shoulder. To not go into any detail, it was a lawsuit because the bad shoulder was caused by getting broad-sided at an intersection while driving in traffic.
Keep in mind, I was not asked to help this case vocationally because the bad shoulder didn’t impact the dentist’s vocational earnings. (Think about it: dentists need strength in both their arms to perform their job duties.) His income was not negatively affected because several months prior to the traffic incident, he had stopped performing surgical procedures.
To explain, he was referring out or having another dentist in his practice perform surgical procedures. This dentist was more or less a clinic administrator and he was making very good money.
I was asked to help on this case and to find costs of a shoulder surgery and any associated future care. This information was needed for litigation purposes.
Cost of care adds up quickly!
During my initial research, I found out that leading up to a shoulder replacement procedure involves several steps and communication to determine if the person would be a good candidate for an outpatient program, considering the person goes home the same day.
The treating doctor prospected the dentist would require a left shoulder reverse total replacement surgery (within 10 years) and more than likely it would be outpatient. Here’s where I came in, to cost out what this surgery and the rehabilitation. I’m not going to give you all I found because I was paid to do that work. I will give you a you a bit of my report and what I found, for free here on my blog!
There is a pre-assessment teaching appointment with a joint coordinator included in the $18,000 outpatient procedure cost. A simple online health admit walks the patient through their medical history (for anesthesia purposes).
The pre-operative physical exam is usually with the PCP and could include a standard physical with a CBC, BMP and EKG. X-rays at pre-op and post-op may not be necessary, and an MRI may or may not be.
All testing and recommendation depends on the patient’s needs, and is dictated by the surgeon. Followup would likely involve physical therapy and home-based exercises.
What did I do next after gathering this information? Did I cost it all out!? Yes, you are correct! And I also included research on the surgical procedure and expected rehabilitation goals.
Want more examples of cases? Let me know! Want my help in helping your client with a case involving work and disability? Again, let me know!
Contact me at 515-778-0634 to discuss your case. I’d love to help you help your client. That’s what my job is all about! Thank you for reading. firstname.lastname@example.org
My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.