A Personal Story: Oral Health System is Broken – Marisa, Fairlee

Marisa lives in Fairlee, Vermont. This is her story:

I am a “big sister” to a girl whose family lives in the Upper Valley. I’ve worked with her for six years now, and have become close with her family. About three years ago, her mom had all of her top teeth, and some of her bottom extracted because they’d become infected and rotten. Unfortunately, she’s been without any top teeth or partial bottom this entire time because she cannot afford the cost of dentures. She has no dental insurance. I know that it affects her self-esteem and her diet every single day. But even an affordable denture plan is out of their price range, or requires good credit for a repayment option.

Also, when my brother turned 18 three years ago and was no longer eligible to stay on my parents’ insurance plan, he lost dental coverage. We filled out paperwork to take him to a free clinic for a cleaning about two years ago, and we were told he’d be put on a list. We never heard anything. Fortunately, he now has a job that provides dental insurance. But our “system,” it goes without saying, is beyond broken.

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