Posts Tagged ‘Dental Decay’

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.”

A Personal Story: Broken Teeth & Unemployed – Zack, Claremont

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Zach is 23 and lives in Claremont, New Hampshire. He is currently unemployed and without dental insurance. “I have some of the older style fillings that are in my mouth that have fallen out. I have broken teeth… I have tried to get help for them. I’ve been to the ER a couple of times because of the pain… I’ve tried calling different dental places and they either want cash up front or they need insurance. A lot of them don’t do sliding scale or anything like that, it’s like a flat rate and you need to have that money when you walk in. I just don’t have that money, I’m unemployed.”

Zach says that the initial visit for a broken tooth costs over $300 just for the x-rays and an exam. Then, to have the tooth extracted it costs over $400. “That’s just one tooth and I have three that need to be taken out right not, and that’s not even counting the fillings.”

Zach had a tooth break three months ago. The pain got worse and worse. “I was losing my hearing, I couldn’t smell or breathe through one of my nostrils because the infection had gone up in my face…. You explain this to the dentist’s office and they’re like, sorry, we can’t help you out, you’d better try going to the ER.” He went to the emergency room but, “they basically just gave me pain medication and antibiotics and sent me on my way.”

Zach was able to get his one tooth pulled through some grant money, but he still has two more broken teeth that need to be addressed. He has tried going to the local dental clinic, but the dentist who was volunteering there was sick the day of his appointment, and now Zach has to wait another three months for an appointment. He’s worried he doesn’t have that long–his dental needs are so acute that they need to be addressed now. “I just think it’s crazy how hard it is to get into a dentist’s office and have them help you out. If I broke my arm or something they’d fix it right away, but if I break a tooth, you sit and suffer with it… it’s one of the most painful things to go through.”

A Personal Story: On COBRA for the Dental – Jen, Thetford

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Jen and her family had dental insurance until a few months ago when Jen lost her job. Fortunately, since they live in Vermont, Jen was able to get the family on VHAP and Dr. Dynasaur, but her daughter was seeing a pediatric dentist in New Hampshire. “My six year old had significant dental work that was needed and they had referred her to a specialist in Manchester, New Hampshire.” Because the regular family dentist refused to do the work, Jen was faced with the prospect of a seven hundred dollar to several thousand dollar dental bill for her daughter. “So I had to stay on COBRA which was $200 for our family for a month. It’s a lot since I’m totally on unemployment comp right now, which barely pays my mortgage. I’m not sure how I’m going to do next month but I have to do COBRA because I’ve got to stay with this specialist, because now she needs an extraction of four teeth. She just had three significant decays filled. I’m trying to find a Vermont dentist that eventually can take over the kids and I’m not sure what I’ll find.”

A Personal Story: Bad Teeth Change You – Lauren, Woodsville

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Lauren lives in Woodsville, New Hampshire. This is her story:

I have friends and family who have gone without dental care because they either were without insurance or simply could not afford to get the level of oral care they needed. The negative impact the look of rotting or missing teeth has on a person is tremendous. Psychologically it is so damaging as to actually cause depression, alienation from loved ones, and may actually cause one to limit any outside contact to avoid embarrassment. The physical problems associated with tooth loss and decay are also impressive. If food is not chewed properly, normal digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals cannot take place. Facial changes in bone structure occurs. This leads to problems – weakness and shifting of healthy teeth. You begin to look different.

I have seen the confidence, happiness, and health of people I know become severely altered as a result of the inaccessibility of proper dental treatment and care.

A Personal Story: Money Is the Issue – Jeff, Bradford

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Jeff is a homeless veteran currently living with a friend in Bradford, Vermont. This is his story:

My dental history in a nutshell: I can’t afford it. I go to a free clinic if I can. If I need a tooth pulled I am going to do it. I just do not like the pain. I guess it is a money issue. Although, I have been pretty lucky. I only had one tooth pulled. But all my other teeth have fillings, most of them. I know down the road things will change. One tooth I have is cracked right now, and I am concerned about that, because I know if I can’t afford to have the crown I will just have it pulled. I have been down this road before. The one tooth I did have pulled, oh forget it, it was pretty bad. I tried pulling it myself because it ached so bad, and I ended up breaking the tooth so all there was left was the base of the tooth, even with my gum line, so when they pulled the root out they had to go in with forceps. I was so happy once they got it out.

Top 5 Ways to Save Your Teeth this Halloween

Monday, October 25th, 2010

According to Dr. Gib Snow, a Los Angeles orthodontist, “The week after Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for orthodontists. Emergency visits spike as we see children, teens and even adults who have suffered dental injury or damaged metal braces as a result of eating candy and other treats.”

Even if you don’t have braces, caution against overindulging in Halloween treats can go a long way toward preserving your oral health. Below, a few tips to consider once the bewitching hour is upon us…

1. Treats that are hard, crunchy or chewy can spell disaster for teeth. Try to limit indulging on these types of candy.

2. Soft candy, such as chocolate kisses or peanut butter cups, melt in your mouth and aren’t as damaging to teeth. Still, you should…

3. Remember to brush and floss after eating anything sugary.

4. After drinking soda or a holiday cocktail, don’t make a habit of chewing in the ice, as it can cause damage to tooth enamel.

5. If you wear braces, be especially good with dental hygiene, as candy trapped behind braces can lead to tooth decay and staining.

Vanessa Hurley