About six years ago, I was playing basketball when I caught an elbow to the face, and my front tooth was suddenly pushed flat against the roof of my mouth.

The trauma was enough to require a root canal, so since then I have had a dead tooth sitting innocuously at the forefront of my smile. Root canals can last a lifetime. Mine did not.

I was recently informed that I had bone resorption, and my best bet for a permanent solution would be an extraction and implantation of a crown.

All of this is to say, I found myself at the dentist the other day.

Obviously purchasing a new tooth is not cheap. I have a little emergency funds set aside, and I figured if I had to spend $1,000 or so I would be fine. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to buy any fancy sweatpants for awhile, but I would live.

Upon arriving for my extraction, I was handed my treatment plan, along with how much it would cost me.

My first visit would consist of:

Collection and application of blood collected from the patient ($250, of which my insurance would pay nothing)

Bone replacement graft for ridge preservation ($455, of which $300 is covered by insurance)

Placement of a membrane to regenerate lost or injured gum tissue following surgery to promote healing ($850, with my insurance company paying $192)

Follow-up surgery to refine the results of previous surgery involving gum tissue ($0)

Surgical removal of a tooth ($285, with $208 covered)

Visit #1 brings a grand total of $1,840, of which I would be responsible for paying $1,140. The entire procedure would take five visits, and cost me $5,890.

Obviously, I don’t have $5,890 to spare. Two years ago I had $56 in my bank account. So I didn’t get anything done.

But, my bone is still resorbing, and I will eventually have to do something about it. That something will probably be another temporary fix, along with a fervent hope to come into some money.

In other news, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has spent over $320 million on advertising so far in hopes of purchasing the Democratic nomination for president, with five months left until the national convention. Not to worry though, that represents but a fraction of the approximately $8.7 billion he has added to his net worth since announcing his candidacy, according to Forbes.

Last week, Jeff Bezos bought the most expensive house in California history — $165 million, or .13% of his net worth. As a comparison, if my new tooth were to cost .13% of my net worth, I would pay about $12.72.

I was going to put a thing here about how Bill Gates could afford to purchase a house for every person experiencing homelessness in America, but my phone’s calculator doesn’t have enough spaces for me to type in how much money he has.

In conclusion, I would just like to say “Parasite” is such a good movie.

Also, subtitles make you smarter, and hopefully it helps lead a shift in discourse surrounding income inequality, moving away from simply posting about eating the rich and towards recognizing how extreme wealth disparity cannot create a complete society.

Noah Ripley can be reached at nripley@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4205.

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