A Personal Story: Beyond Saving – Lori, Strafford


Lori is a single mother of six, three of whom still live at home with her in Strafford, Vermont. Lori’s children have had dental insurance through Dr. Dynasaur from the time they were young but Lori has not. Although she always had a dentist, she could not afford routine maintenance, “and so I ended up losing seven of my adult chewing teeth—the big ones in the back—because they would just get cavities and they would just go so quickly that…there was no saving them. Even two of them, I went in and said, ‘I don’t care what it costs just save them,’ and they were just beyond saving.” Lori explains that her regular dental maintenance was just always one of the (many) things that was expendable at the end of the month, because her children’s care came first, “and it was expensive. Dental care is just so expensive.”

Lori has tried putting dental work on payment plans, but it usually ends up on a credit card where she ends up paying more for it in interest. “I finally said, I have two chewing teeth left, I cannot afford to loose these, because if I lose these I have nothing left to chew with. I believe now one is cracked and I need to get in there and I haven’t been able to go because there’s no money. (My ex-husband) has now quit paying child support completely.”

Seven years ago, Lori had a tooth abscess and ended up in the emergency room. At the time she did not have a primary care physician so she saw her kids’ pediatrician, who gave her a prescription: “I had no idea how dangerous it was to get a bad tooth infection.” Her face got extremely swollen, but the antibiotics got rid of the infection and then she was able to get the tooth extracted at a local dental clinic.

Lori is grateful for the care her children have received through Dr. Dynasaur: “I am so thankful and so appreciative that Dr. Dynasaur is out there for my children because I don’t know what would happen otherwise. I could not afford to take them for regular routine check-ups. I couldn’t. If they had to have a filling I would find a way but I know that those routine six month cleanings would not happen. And because of them not happening, I know that things would go undiagnosed and unseen.”

Illustration by Dennis Pacheco.

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