Short Term Costs vs. Long Term Costs

Recently I had a bit of a sore tooth…I mainly noticed it when I ate certain foods (namely all the gluten & dairy free chocolate hot cross buns I had over Easter). I will say that I started to get a bit worried about it and it began to play on my mind more and more. Did I need a filling? Was it something bad? I found two choices staring me in the face to either leave it or go to the dentist.

Now, I didn’t want to go to the dentist. My last checkup was only five months ago (which I paid o lot of money for I might add) and back then everything was all good. I’m a fan of regular tooth brushing and flossing so it’s not like I don’t take care of my teeth, as a result my first thought was “oh it’s probably fine”. Going to the dentist is never a cheap exercise so that was probably my main reason for not wanting to go. I decided initially that leaving it and hoping for the best was definitely the cheaper option. Or was it?

It wasn’t until I had several people point out to me that if it did turn out to be an issue, if I left it it’d most likely get worse making it more difficult and more costly to fix. If I needed a tiny filling it probably wouldn’t be all that bad, but if I let it get that way then I could need much worse like a root canal which is also means some serious dollars. If, if, if…so many possibilities.

After weighing my options, I decided long term it was cheaper to pay $115 to get the all clear as opposed to hundreds or even thousands further down the track to try and fix a much worse  and more advanced problem. Sometimes it’s important to look at what is going to be more costly in the long term as opposed to the short term.

Turns out, it was nothing serious but I may be brushing my teeth too vigorously (knowing this know could definitely save me money in the long term as a side note). But I’m also glad I paid the money to find out, not just to potentially save money in the long run but it also gave me peace of mind right now. I was spending time and energy worrying about this and I found myself in the end with a bit of a stress headache over it all. Paying the money to find out for certain lifted a big weight off my shoulders which left more space in my mind to think about other things instead of worrying unnecessary. My teeth also have a lot more years left in them so I personally figure that good dental care is an excellent investment. After all, teeth aren’t always easy to fix and virtually irreplaceable. You can’t get them on sale at the local supermarket.

When have you had to make financial choices that affect you both in the long and short term?