Archive for March 23rd, 2012

A Personal Story: I Haven’t Been Back- Dan, Lebanon

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Dan is 72 and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire. About three years ago Dan had a bridge made that cost him $1,700. Like many seniors, Dan has a limited income, so this was quite expensive for him. “They hooked them to two of my other teeth and filled them and put pegs in them, and they just wouldn’t stay in my mouth. And if they did stay, the minute I’d try to open my mouth they’d fall down. It wasn’t worth even having them…. I haven’t been back to [the dentist] because it wouldn’t do me no good to go back to him anyways. [He'd] charge me all over again…. I fell down these back steps here and knocked the fillings out of one of them and knocked the other one out and all that’s left here is a piece of steel that they had it hitched to…. I had that one replaced at least four times. And this last time when I knocked it out out there, I just gave up. No sense of going back for that. [It would] just cost more money, and I ain’t got it to put in them.”

A Personal Story: Pediatric X-ray Issues – Heather, Lyme

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Heather is 40, with two young children, living in Lyme, New Hampshire. Her family has dental insurance, and can afford their dental care, but they drive all the way to Burlington, VT, a four hour round trip, for their son’s dental work. “Our oldest son began dental care locally, where I go, and he wasn’t able to bite down on the x-ray wings. He has a really strong gag reflex…. The fourth time he tried he was really determined to do it so he chomped really hard and split the roof of his mouth open. And he was really disheartened.” Their son had had a large cavity filled that had abcessed, and they were recommended to go to a pediatric dentist. They felt like they needed to make sure this dental experience was successful, and the pediatric dentists that were most highly recommended were in Concord, New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont. “We decided just to go [to Burlington] because we could think of more fun things to do on Lake Champlain than in Concord, New Hampshire.” When she finally was able to get their son’s teeth safely x-rayed, Heather found out that he had eight cavities. The extraction, a space maintainer, and the fillings, took a total of four trips over the course of a summer to complete.

Luckily, Heather and her family do their cleanings locally, and because her kids are under twelve, they get their dental cleanings reimbursed by the family’s health insurance. If they got dental insurance for their kids, it would only pay up to $1,200 a year, maximum, and it would only cover 50% of each procedure, so for Heather’s family it made more sense to pay out of pocket, about $2,000 for all of her son’s work. But the extensive travel Heather and her son need to make takes a toll. If he can’t get his teeth x-rayed at his next local cleaning, they’ll need to go back up to Burlington in six months for x-rays. Heather and her husband both had braces, so they’re anticipating a future of extensive dental care for their children: “It doesn’t bode well.”