Archive for the ‘International Oral Health’ Category

A Personal Story: Overseas Dental Care – Roy, Lyme

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Roy lives in Lyme, NH, and has four kids between the ages of 14 and 23. He is divorced from his wife, and while he does not have dental insurance, his ex-wife and kids do, through her job. She recently went to see a new dentist, and since the family owes several hundred dollars for that visit, she is reluctant to go back. Roy hopes to be able to pay off that bill soon, but until he can, his ex-wife is hesitant to schedule another visit for herself or for their oldest child, who has been recently complaining about a toothache.

Three of Roy’s children spent a year abroad with relatives and had extensive dental work done while they were out of the country at a fraction of the cost. Roy’s daughter got braces put on while overseas, but when she saw a local orthodontist for adjustments, the local orthodontist wanted to replace them entirely. Although Roy objected, the work was still done and Roy now owes two or three thousand dollars.

Roy anticipates some of his family members needing more dental work done: his son, who just got his braces removed, has a tooth that is out of position, which is estimated to take $7,000 to fix. Roy thinks the best option is to go out of the country again for it. Although it seems like the flight alone would be expensive, Roy finds that the amount they save on dental bills pays for the trip. Roy himself had a crown replaced overseas and paid $400 for a procedure that would have cost $2,000 over here. “I wonder what dentistry is going to be like fifty years from now. The only thing I know is that it’s going to be very different. We’ve got a lot of problems with the way the system works right now and I’m sure everybody in the industry feels the pressure of it.”

One Cavity in Malawi

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

An interesting oral health data point from Malawi in south-central Africa.

The heartwarming story of William Kamkwanba, a boy from Kasunga, Malawi who tries to bring food security to his family and his village by building a windmill to pump water from their well is told in The Boy Who Harvested the Wind.  His family lives primarily off of their corn harvest and occasional meat and other vegetables.  He succeeds in building the windmill from scrap parts based on plans he’s worked out from library books and gains international attention.  Donors provided funds to assist his family.  At the end of the book, he writes, “I bought better blankets to keep us warm at night in winter, malaria pills and mosquito nets for the rainy season, and I arranged to send everyone in my family to the doctor and dentist.  (After never having seen a dentist in my life, I had only one cavity!)” p. 260.

Tom Roberts