A Personal Story: Extraction the Only Option – Phil, Vershire


In 1997, Phil was self employed and making good money. He had a tooth that needed a root canal and a crown, and he paid $1,200 to get the work done. After five or six years, the tooth went bad and Phil needed to get it fixed. However this time he was unemployed and “basically homeless”, and he could not find anyone willing to do the work. Fortunately, Phil lives in Vermont and had VHAP and went to the local free clinic where he got a voucher for an extraction. “It was really messed up because it was really hurting for awhile and I was babying it and babying it, until it finally finished cracking apart and I went in there. It was really awful, I really had a horrible toothache for like two weeks. Getting them to see me was just almost impossible.” But Phil finally convinced them to move up his appointment, and he had the tooth extracted. “That was one of the best things that ever really happened.”

But it’s frustrating for Phil, because he used to have health and dental insurance coverage through his job, and dentists were also more affordable. Now he feels like his only option is the clinic where he can only be seen for an extraction. “If there’s no real problem with your teeth, they’re not going to do much of anything. You basically have to wait until they’re extractable, which is really awful, and then just have all your teeth pulled out…That’s how our system is working now…Just like it was ages ago…from the 13-1400s until now. If you can’t afford whatever it costs to have someone look at your teeth and get the dental work done, they wait until they’re extractable and then, boom, out they go.”

Illustration by Dennis Pacheco.

    One Response to “A Personal Story: Extraction the Only Option – Phil, Vershire”

    1. Rosangela says:

      I have the same problem. Usually, if you clench your teeth in the morning, changes are you may do it at night and not know about it. I clench and grind morning+night. My dentist showed me my xrays and it was causing my teeth to be worn down and moving forward. Also a few chips. I got a mouth guard to try to control it. You can get one at the drugstore or at the dentist. You just wear it and it prevents the bottom and top teeth from touching so it prevents from damaging further. I’ve been wearing one for about a year. Sometimes all day when I am at home. I got use to the feeling and now when I clench, I am reminded of my mouthguard and clench less often. I suggest getting one. Good luck!

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