A Personal Story: Teeth Beyond Saving – Teresa, Fairlee

Teresa is 31 years old, living in Fairlee, Vermont, and her teeth are in terrible shape. Until she was 18, Teresa was able to get dental care through her mom’s insurance. But after that she was on her own, and that meant the end of her capacity to afford any sort of oral health care. About 12 years ago Teresa was in a car accident that resulted in a chipped tooth. Left untreated, the tooth decayed; years later, it is now fractured right down to the gumline and one of a number of teeth that are so badly diseased that she thinks they are beyond saving. Teresa has been in and out of the emergency room for the past five years because of tooth pain, but there’s nothing the emergency room can really do for her. “They give me ibuprofen and then they send me home,” she says. What she needs is to see a dentist, but she has no insurance and no money to spare. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she says. “I can’t take it any more; I think I’ll just pull this tooth out myself.”

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