A Personal Story: Bottom Jaw Plate – Wendy, Norwich

Wendy is 60 and lives in Norwich, Vermont. She has a plate in her bottom jaw because she couldn’t see a dentist when she was younger. “My brother broke my jaw, and it didn’t reset right because I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist and have him look at it. So I broke all these teeth, because I grind my teeth.” Wendy did eventually get to a dentist. “I paid cash, $2,400, and then (had) another tooth out … I should have saved it.” This dentist fitted Wendy for dentures and fortunately they fit perfectly; she has had no problems with them.

Wendy always made sure her own kids saw a dentist, because when they were small she was working a job where she had dental insurance. But without the coverage she would not have been able to afford it.

Wendy works with young women, many of whom receive welfare and have state medical insurance. She finds that many of the women she works with would go to the dentist if they could afford it. Sometimes they seek dental care at the local free dental clinic, but appointments there take months to schedule and are sometimes cancelled.

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