Spending More Money to Avoid Dental Pain – And Thankful for Doing It!

Going to the dentist isn’t exactly high on the list of fun things to do, for most people.  You know when people compare unpleasant life events to being “like getting a root canal”, it’s not meant to be a compliment to the dental procedure!

Having had one of those done before, I know how it isn’t all that fun.  Now, the root canal in particular didn’t live up to the hype in terms of being difficult, excruciating, etc.  Maybe I have a decent threshold for pain in that way? Who knows, but regardless, it wasn’t fun.

Very recently, I had something done which I thought was a little bit more involved: getting a wisdom tooth pulled.   Now, it’s been a while, but I posted on this topic many months ago, when discussing the topic of trying to save on dental care.

In that post, I outlined the options that were provided to me for getting the tooth pulled, from lowest pain relief/cost, to highest pain relief/cost:

  • Local Injection
  • Gas
  • IV Sedation

I had been deliberating whether or not to spend extra to go under, and simply not deal with the pain.  However, given that I have handled the root canal experience pretty well, I wondered if I should just save a little money and bypass the more expensive option of IV sedation.

As it turns out, the out-of-pocket costs became lower for me from the last post.  Now, I had to pay around $80 for gas, or $117 for IV sedation.  To me, that extra $37 expense wasn’t a big deal, and not nearly as much as prior cost difference I noted in the earlier post.  It was now a small enough incremental difference in cost that I just thought I would go ahead and agree to it.

That’s exactly what I did, and I have to say, it was one of the best examples I’ve had of getting value for spending a bit more.

When I got in the chair, after some conversation and prep work, they put in the IV and then I very quickly faded away.  The next thing I knew, I was waking up and they said it was over.  It really seemed like it was just seconds apart.  I didn’t feel any pain during the tooth extraction at all!

I really think some of that might be due to not being aware in any way of what was going on, and not feeling the psychological stress of seeing what they’re doing, and even hearing the tooth being extracted.  Whatever the case, it was totally worth the $37 extra.  Frankly, I think it might have been worth a few hundred dollars extra too!

So, 2 takeaways:

  • Don’t suffer just to save money. Life is too short, and sometime we can be smarter by being less “brave”
  • It’s entirely possible to get a wisdom tooth extracted and have it be a totally fine, non-stressful experience, simply by getting IV sedation.

My Questions for You

Have you ever had to trade off any physical pain/suffering in order to save on health care or dental costs?

If so, what happened and how did it go?

Have you ever had a surprisingly decent/painless experience going to a dentist or oral surgeon?


  1. says

    I had my wisdom teeth pulled as well, though I was fortunate enough to not have to pay, my parents were kind enough to take care of it. I went under with the gas and I had exactly the same experience it seems you did, so I wonder if the extra cost was really worth it. But I definitely agree it’s one of those situations where if you have to incur physical pain just to save money, it may not be the best idea.

    • Squirrelers says

      John – its totally worth spending money to avoid such pain. I never really seemed to experience much pain doing it this way, which was great!

    • Squirrelers says

      Miss T – I know, it’s great when you don’t remember a thing about having a wisdom tooth removed. No memory of pain, any crunching sounds of teeth being removed, stress of having them work on your mouth, etc. Well worth the money.

  2. says

    When I was pregnant with our second child, my husband and I were broke (we were transitioning to life on one income while dealing with an unexpected/unplanned pregnancy). I seriously considered delivering without an epidural for the SOLE reason of saving money. In hindsight, I am SO glad I didn’t :)

    • Squirrelers says

      IV sedation was surprisingly easy. Didn’t have to deal with any extreme pain, hear crunching noises from the removal, or anything like that!

  3. says

    I couldn’t imagine it ever being worth a bunch of pain just to save a few bucks. Even if it were an amount a lot more than that, why suffer? Tooth extractions are NOT fun. I can only imagine what it would be like without being “under” (so to speak). You definitely made the right choice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *