A Personal Story: Glad She Has Insurance – Michelle, Strafford

Michelle lives in Strafford, Vermont, and works full time as a surgical nurse. She pays $120 a month for the dental insurance that covers her, her husband, and son. Her son has braces and the insurance pays $2,000 a year towards those. Nonetheless, Michelle must still pay an additional $150 a month for her son’s braces. “It definitely makes it so that we can’t afford other things, like vacations and things like that… But, if something happened, we’re glad that we have dental insurance.” Four years ago Michelle’s son knocked out a permanent tooth that had to be re-implanted. He was on Dr. Dynasaur at the time, so, fortunately, the dental work that would have cost them thousands and thousands of dollars was completely covered.

“I would definitely say that having dental insurance for sure makes me use it…. for preventative care. If I didn’t have dental insurance I would probably always have (my son’s) teeth cleaned but I don’t know if I would do it for myself… Most people have some kind of fear about the dentist. So once you wait too long, if it’s been ten years since you’ve been for a cleaning, you’re less apt to go. As a nurse, I will say that good dentition is really kind of a fundamental part of a person’s well being, because if you can’t eat then you can’t get nutrients from food. People with poor dentition tend to not live as long.”

Michelle is surprised by the number of people she sees in her line of work who have full sets of dentures, some of them as young as 50. She feels fortunate that she was raised with the practice of going to the dentist for cleanings and check ups every six months. She also feels fortunate that when she did have VHAP, when she was living in Burlington, she found a dentist who would take her insurance. She remembers many dentists were not accepting new VHAP patients because they would not get reimbursed fully for their services, and in many cases were losing money.

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