A Public Service Announcement From TSSBP
Show of hands -- who likes Navy Dentistry? I sure didn't, but I went to the dentist every year because I had to. I'd always had fairly good teeth (never needed braces and didn't have my first cavity until I was 16), but I ended up with 1 or 2 minor cavities a year during my last years in the Navy.
When I was doing my retirement workups in the summer of 2004, I got all the dental work done that they could think of doing, because it was free. When I finally got my civilian job, I noticed that it came with dental insurance, and would listen to the stories my wife and kids told about when they went to the dentist or orthodontist, but I never got that notice from the Doc that I had to go, so I... didn't.
When I started being able to feel a cavity on one of my back molars with my tongue a few weeks back, I figured I really needed to buckle down and find a dentist. I went today, and they found -- get ready for it -- 17 cavities, including one that will require a root canal, and another (the one I was feeling) that probably will. Plus, it turns out that, in the civilian world, you actually incur fairly substantial co-pays. (Having Tricare as my secondary medical insurance here in CIVMOUNT, I'd never really thought about that.) Bottom line is that they want about $2,600 above and beyond what my insurance would cover this year to get all the work done. Of course, most of the cavities wouldn't have progressed this far had I gotten a yearly cleaning.
So, take it from Bubblehead -- don't think that just because you're out of the Navy, you don't need to see the dentist. Plus, they say that they'll give you something that makes it so you won't even remember your visits, which is way better than what the Navy does for you.