If you’ve been following my Journey to Dental Implants, then you may know by now that we have to PRE PAY $17,500 out of pocket for my zygomatic dental implant surgery, which is scheduled for October 5th. Several people have asked, “How can I help?”, so I started a Planting Smiles fundraiser. Why planting smiles? Because every gift is planting smiles in my future!
Planting Smiles Fundraiser
Planting Smiles Fundraiser Goal Explained
The question has been asked, “Why is the cost so high…when one tooth implant only runs about $1000?”
A single implant is a bit different than an entire set. When an entire set of teeth is needed, typically 4-8 studs are placed in the gum to support the weight of the fixed denture. I don’t have enough bone in my upper gum to support the type of implant that is needed for that. So, I have to have the implant placed in my zygoma, which is the cheek bone.
They will place two implants in each zygoma, angling one forward like an eye tooth and one backward like a molar. Then they’ll use cadavaric bone to try to place 1-2 implants in what little upper gum I do have. For the bottom, they will place 4-6 studs, depending on what the bone can handle.
The entire procedure, with only the first 30 minutes of anesthesia factored in is roughly $64,000. We’ve been told that the final cost, with all of the anesthesia, will be roughly $80,000.
We do have to pay $17,500 ($1500 to the anesthesia company, and $16,000 directly to UIC) out of pocket prior to surgery. Then we have to pay $24,000 out of pocket to receive the final fixed plates, in 6-12 months. That is $41,500 out of pocket.
Insurance has said they will cover at an “out of network rate” (which is 60%) of the total amount (roughly $80,000), which is $48,000. That would leave $32,000 for us, but our policy states that our max out of pocket out of network is $9800 per year (x 2 years, since surgery is October 2018 and date of delivery of final fixed plate will be in 2019) which would put our cost at $19,600 but we’ve already paid $2000 out of pocket this year, so that drops out anticipated out of pocket cost to between $17000 and $18000.
Because my prosthedontis has a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) behind his name, it places him out of the HEALTH care network.
In effort to be transparent, I am posting the treatment plan. I did black out my patient number. I also highlighted where it indicates only the first 30 minutes of anesthesia are factored into the estimate.
The question has also been asked, “why now?” It’s simple. Your gums are like a hill of dirt. With roots, the hill remains a hill. Without roots, it erodes. Teeth are the roots in your gums, and without roots, the gums erode. Add constant pressure from wearing dentures, and that process is hastened. I’ve already had bone grafted from my hip into my face to rebuild my gum once. Without roots, that has eroded. In fact, it’s as if it were never done. It isn’t recommended that it be done again. My upper gum has eroded to the point that it isn’t supporting my denture. Even having my denture remade will not fix it, because the denture isn’t the problem. The gum is the problem. We can’t rebuild it, we have to work around it. My lower gum is eroding, as well. It is essential that we put implants in the lower gum before it can no longer support them. Now that insurance has said they will cover a portion of the surgery, we need to move forward as quickly as possible, to avoid more bone loss. Also, the insurance approval is time limited.
Planting Smiles Facebook Fundraiser
As I mentioned, several people have asked, “how can I help?” Admitting that I *need* help is not easy for me. Actually asking for help is even harder. The fact is, tho, that without help, I don’t know how we’re going to do this. So, I’ve created several ways for others to help with the out of pocket pre-payment for this surgery. The first is a Planting Smiles Facebook Fundraiser.
I chose the Facebook Fundraiser over GoFundMe because the fees are less. The fee for a personal Facebook Fundraiser is 2.6% + $0.30 per donation. Below you can see how the Facebook Fundraiser payment works. Of the initial $825 raised, I will receive $797.25. Yes, it stinks to have fees like that BUT Facebook has a high visibility, so…
Planting Smiles Tee Shirt Fundraiser
Second, I created a Planting Smiles Tee Shirt fundraiser on Bonfire.com. Bonfire is the easy way to raise money online with custom shirts & hoodies. I decided to stick with the planting smiles image that I created, because it just fits. The tee shirts are available in youth and adult sizes, in five colors. The hoodies are available in adult sizes, also in five colors!
I know that some people like to have a tangible proof of their gift, and a tee shirt fundraiser is a great way to give them that. I did think about setting the price for the t-shirts higher, but I wanted to keep it low enough that people can easily justify adding another tee to their collection. As you can expect, the it will take quite a few tees to raise the money I need.
Planting Smiles Paypal Money Pool
Finally, I did create a Planting Smiles PayPal Money Pool. Money Pools are an easy and fast way to collect money with friends. Whether you need to raise money for a holiday, a group gift, or for regular shared expenses, just create a Money Pool and share it with your friends and family. Creating and running a Money Pool is free of charge. Initially, I’d given friends my PayPal.me address, but PayPal was removing fees from what was sent, so I switched to the pool.
There are just 45 days to go until my surgery!
Learn more about my Journey to dental implants…