Archive for September 11th, 2011

A Personal Story: It Shouldn’t Be So Hard – Amy, Strafford

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

When Amy moved to Vermont fourteen years ago she had only been to the dentist twice since college. With only one cavity, she considered her teeth relatively healthy. Her story details how difficult it was for her to find satisfactory dental care, and how her oral health suffered as a result.

At the first dentist she tried, Amy had a cavity filled which needed to be repaired the very next year, and her dentist wasn’t comfortable when she brought her children to her appointments with her. The next dentist Amy found really worked well for her: similar health care philosophy, modern machines, short and effective appointments – unfortunately, this dentist had to close her practice for legal reasons. Amy’s third dentist gave her a treatment for her gums that stained her teeth brown, and then suggested they be artificially whitened. When her husband had to miss an appointment, the office cancelled hers as well, and wrote a two page letter of complaint.

At this point, Amy decided that she hated dentists, so she tried someone local who had a good sense of humor. He immediately scheduled her for a root canal. After the root canal, Amy had a three hour appointment to get a crown fitted, with pain that was, “worse than childbirth.” Amy had another root canal with this dentist, but could not bring herself to schedule the crown fitting. The tooth lost its temporary filling and a year and a half later, eventually rotted out. After this experience, Amy called a different dentist recommended by a relative, and has finally found someone she is happy with. But, about her experiences finding good dental care in the Upper Valley, Amy says: “It shouldn’t be so hard.”

A Personal Story: Weighing Priorities – Rob, Thetford

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Rob is a self-employed builder and painter in Thetford, Vermont. A few years ago he needed a crown done but couldn’t afford it. He was able to work out a deal with his dentist where they exchanged services: the dentist put on the crown, and Rob did work for the dentist.

Rob is trying hard not to take on debt and is careful about deciding to get dental work done: “There’s no way I can afford to come in and spend a couple thousand dollars on my teeth right away. So I have to weigh things and decide how pertinent (the dental work) is at the time. Is it an emergency? Do I need to have it done?”

Rob’s daughter needed braces and was at the age where she had to have the work done. Unfortunately, he had to take on debt for that work and now pays a set amount each month: “Can I afford it? It’s really hard-everything’s hard right now because of the economy being the way that it is. But somehow, money seems to get there for it.” In the summer the payments are easier because that’s the season where Rob tends to have more work, in the winter it’s hard to predict what will happen. “You have to make priorities, and priorities are food, shelter, stuff like that. There’s a lot of people that have to look at that piece right now.”

A Personal Story: Mom Likes Mobile Care – Marcie, Strafford

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Marcie is married with three small children, living in Strafford, Vermont. When her husband was teaching, their family had dental insurance, but when he left his job five years ago they were uninsured. During the time they were uninsured, Marcie tried to make sure the family got regular cleanings, but even that was difficult. She had to schedule the appointments so far in advance, by the time the date got there, something always seemed to come up and they’d have to cancel. She decided to switch dentists and found it difficult to get established with a new one.

She found herself paying careful attention to expenses: “When we were on insurance and I didn’t care where we went because it was all covered, I just went wherever it was convenient. When we didn’t have insurance I was like, well it’s silly to keep going to this guy if he’s more expensive than somebody else, because I’m paying out of pocket now.”

Marcie ended up switching the kids to the mobile dental unit that comes to their school. It offers cleanings and other preventative care from a hygienist who can refer you to a dentist if needed. Marcie’s pretty happy with this new arrangement because it’s so convenient. Marcie and her husband both started new jobs this summer and the family has dental insurance once again, which means Marcie’s husband can now schedule an extraction he’s been putting off.

A Personal Story: Time-Bomb Tooth – Bob, Strafford

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Bob, 52, is self employed, married with one child, living in Vermont, and has never had dental insurance. He doesn’t think it’s worth the investment: “It never seems to really cover the bills…I just pay as I go.” Bob sees his dentist regularly, twice a year. At his last visit he had a crown put on one of his teeth, and the dentist noticed another tooth with a crack. The dentist suggested Bob get another crown before the tooth shatters in some unexpected place where he won’t be able to get immediate dental help. “I can’t afford to put a crown in so I’m waiting until the tooth self-destructs,” Bob explains. He considers the procedure to be somewhat elective, but at the same time,”kind of a time bomb,” and says, “It’s hard to come up with 1,200 bucks to get the crown done. It’s just one of those things-there’s just always something else to spend the money on.”