An Extra Tooth

I was at the dentist the other day with my 8 year old son and I came back to get the summary of what needed to be done on his teeth from the dentist.  While I was walking in I heard “Oh, that shouldn’t be there!”  Which is when I learned my son didn’t lose one of his front baby teeth, the other teeth grew around it and by a second x-ray they determined that the root was firmly attached and it would need to be extracted.

At this point I’m thinking “Oh great…now I have to check my dental coverage at work.” Yet it gets better, because of the extra tooth my son will also need braces to fix his front teeth.  To which my wife replied “You can’t quit until that is fixed.”  Of course I had some vague awareness the braces where not cheap, but I still didn’t have any clue what the cost was.  So a quick Google search and the costs can be anywhere between $5000 to $9000…or more, but it depends on what needs to be done.  We are now awaiting an estimate on how much to fix our son’s teeth.

Of course I understand for the average person an extra $10,000 expense would be a fairly big bomb shell, but lucky for me I’m not average.  In fact, I’m wondering if I can get a discount if I pay off the entire thing in one payment.  Then it hits me…I love my life.  Here is something that would freak most people out and I’m only wondering about how to manage it in our cash flow for a couple of months at most.  To say I’m grateful for this is a vast understatement.

So perhaps that is the secret to a happy life…don’t sweat when things go wrong, but rather feel grateful you are in a place to deal with the problem.  While early retirement isn’t everyone’s goal in life, freedom from financial worries should be a goal.  After all a good night sleep some days can be priceless.

So what was the last big thing that went wrong in your life?  How did you deal with it?

5 thoughts on “An Extra Tooth”

  1. My sympathies to your son. (I had 9 baby teeth pulled as pre teen. I was a bit of an odd duck when it came to teeth.)

    Last big thing that went wrong was I lost my job and had vey poor job prospects due to a chronic injury. Even with out finding a job I could have supported myself and paid for a 2 year Masters while living on my savings. Luckily I did find a job and am working while doing my Masters.

  2. When you choose to have kids, you know these things will pop up. Luckily for you Tim, you will still be able to ER and be able to deal with these child-related expenses.

    Now, we don’t have kids and this is a BIG reason why I will be done at 42… without child rearing responsibilities I could strip my expenses to the bone if need be – I think I could live on 10k if I had to. In fact, I was thinking that my first year or two in ER I might try to live like this for a calendar year – park the car and walk everywhere, cancel cable/internet, eat mostly vegetables (some of which I can grow), lots of thrift store visits etc… after a year this will probably get old (especially for my still working wife!) but I love the idea of avoiding excessive spending of the ER nest egg during those early years. Food, property tax, strata fees, would be our main expenses, and those would be modest (we pay less than $100 monthly for property tax). Not saying a family couldn’t do this with kids, but not sure it would be all that fair to them.

    Could be material for a blog I’m thinking….

  3. Our son is also in the “going to need braces” club. Don’t have a definite price yet, but I do know that we will get a discount if paid in full. He had an assessment appointment last spring, and has another appointment a year from then. By then, we should have at least $2500 set aside to put towards the cost. The rest we will borrow from our other savings.

    There are benefits through my work, but I have always opted out. The amount of premiums that would be paid over the year total more than paying out of pocket, braces aside. However, my co-workers have told me that the amount that is covered was used up before their kids even had braces in their mouths! Another co-worker got braces herself, and none of it was covered because she wasn’t a dependant. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  4. Well, nothing really has gone too wrong. But I do remember the days when things did go wrong and to have to worry about the financial aspect as well as whatever the problem was is a real pain.

    I look at it too as removing money as a consideration for decisions. Like someone might pay off their mortgage because they have enough accumulated that they don’t have to really worry about the ROI of the decision, the mortgage just annoys them to have to pay anymore and they want it gone. I’m kind of leaning that way now.

    Or you buy a particular house, car, piece of furniture or meal out at a restaurant because you really want that particular item, and how much it costs is irrelevant – and you have the money saved to do so. That seems like the ultimate in financial freedom to me.

  5. “freedom from financial worries should be a goal” — what if others’ utility functions look different? Why force them to be free from financial worry? Trying to force things on humans doesn’t end well …

    I am here because I happen to also prioritize financial security, and have had some of the same experiences (but of lower magnitude). Of course, a big one is likely to occur at some point. But yes, I want to be able to just not worry exactly as above.

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