Posts Tagged ‘Extractions’

Free Dental Care for Adults – May 5, 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Free Dental Care. The Vermont State Dental Society is sponsoring  statewide free dental care on May 5, 2012.  Vermont is the first state to offer this event with dentists across the state participating.  Here in the Upper Valley, Drs. Kraitz, Gold and Blicher have reach across the river and enlisted New Hampshire dentists to make this an Upper Valley event.     The participating dentists are Drs. Baker, Blicher, Denk, Gold, Governo, Kravitz, Meyers, Petrescu-Boboc, Santavicca and Willette.  Along with these dentists, hygienists and dental assistants are also voluntering their time for patient care.  In preparation for May 5th, 46 patients have had oral health screenings and xrays at the Red Logan Clinic in White River Junction, and will have follow up care at Red Logan, as needed, after May 5th.  The range of services include hygiene, restoration, root canals and extractions.   Partners in the Upper Valley include the Vermont State Dental Society, Grafton Sullivan County Dental Society, the Red Logan Dental Clinic and the Community Oral Health Initiative of the Upper Valley.

A Personal Story: NH Medicaid is Crippling – Jason, Lebanon

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Jason is 34, with four children, and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Jason’s daughter was born with Spina Bifida, which means, among other things, that her teeth are softer than most people’s and they are more susceptible to decay. At four or five years old she needed some extensive work done. Jason explains: “We had a dentist in Claremont, and with a busy schedule (my wife and I both work) and we have four kids we’re chasing around and bringing back and forth to different appointments. One of the appointments slipped our mind. When we realized we had missed the appointment, we called in to reschedule, and they told us that we couldn’t be seen there ever again.”

Jason couldn’t find any other dentist in the Upper Valley who would accept his NH State Medicaid. After looking around, Jason was referred to a pediatric dentist in Concord, New Hampshire. Jason traveled an hour and a half to get his daughter an exam, and then, a few weeks later, back for the surgery she needed. She needed a couple of teeth pulled, spacers put in, and caps on her molars. Jason feels lucky that the work was all covered by insurance. Still, “That’s a three hour trip. We were down there all day for the surgery, had to pull the rest of the kids out of school, so it’s definitely an inconvenience having to travel that far.”

Fortunately, Jason and his family have since found a dentist that accepts his insurance closer to home.


A Personal Story: No Need to Pull Teeth – Nathan, Woodstock

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Nathan lives in Woodstock, Vermont. This is his story:

Twenty-five years ago I went to a local dentist. He stated I needed to have all my teeth pulled and replace with dentures. I was only in my 50′s; this was not an acceptable treatment plan, regardless of my financial situation. I obtained a second opinion. The second dentist told me that most of my teeth would be lost within five years. The most cost-effective treatment would be to pull all the teeth and be fitted for dentures. I was outraged.

Instead, I went to Boston for treatment. It was successful. I have only had to have one tooth pulled in these last twenty-five years.

Why would a dentist’s first course of action be to pull all the teeth? Was income a factor?

Illustration by Dennis Pacheco (click here for Dennis Pacheco’s website).

A Personal Story: No Dentist in 10 Years – Sam, White River Junction

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Sam is 44 and lives in White River Junction, Vermont. It has been over ten years since he has seen a dentist. He just moved to the area in January, and he does not know where to start looking. He gets $700 a month from disability and does not know whether dental care is covered for him. He has teeth he knows need attention, because he can see that they’re decaying. In the past when this has happened, they have been painful and needed to be pulled. He’s also got one that is crooked and one that is chipped. Since Sam has lost nine or ten teeth already, he suspects he will need dentures at some point. He’s planning on asking his doctor later this week when he goes to the hospital for heart surgery if they know of any dentists he could see.

A Personal Story: Fixed Income – Ellen, Lebanon

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Ellen is 81 and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She has a dentist that she sees regularly but has no dental insurance. She takes good care of her teeth and gets them cleaned once a year, although her dentist would like to see her every six months. Ellen’s income is fixed at just over $1,000 a month, which means she needs to watch her expenses. In the winter, Ellen finds it more difficult to get out, and the cost of heat makes her living expenses higher, so that’s why she doesn’t go more often. “I’m on oxygen all the time and I can’t walk very far.” Ellen recently had a tooth removed that had a cap on it but had decayed underneath. “I probably could have caps put on or a bridge put across where it was but it’s $1,400, so right now that’s out of the question.”

A Personal Story: Stay Active or Keep Teeth? – Jeanette, Lebanon

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Jeanette is 86 and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She has no dental insurance, but she has supplements to her social security that make her able to afford to pay out-of-pocket. Jeanette has had a crown recently and gets cleanings every six months. She feels very fortunate that she still has most of her natural teeth and takes great pride in taking care of them.


Jeanette has osteoporosis, and one of the medications her doctor prescribed for her, Flomax, affected her teeth. Jeanette explains: “It softens your gums and your teeth fall out…. Three teeth fell [out] and [my dentist] had to dig the roots, and that wasn’t easy.” Jeanette’s dentist talked to her doctor, who didn’t want to take her off Flomax. The dentist explained that she was going to lose all her teeth if she stayed on the medication. Jeanette’s doctor said, “She’s got a choice between her teeth and being able to be active.” Her doctor finally relented and Jeanette now takes vitamin supplements to strengthen her bones.


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: Heart Valve Replacement & Dental Health – Bob, West Lebanon

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Bob is 61 and lives in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. Five years ago, Bob discovered that he had some teeth that were loosening, one of which fell out. Recent x-rays and exams indicate that due to bone deterioration, Bob needs a total of ten teeth extracted, with a partial bridge replacement on the bottom.

Bob has also had a heart valve replacement, which complicates his dental care. He needs to take anticoagulation drugs regularly, as well as amoxycillin before dental procedures to make sure there’s no infection in the valve. The nurse from Bob’s anticoagulation program told him he needed to give himself subcutaneous anticoagulant injections twice a day five days prior to getting his dental work done, a procedure Bob is not comfortable with. He researched his condition online, finding recent articles which do not suggest the necessity of the injections, and now doesn’t know who to trust or who to believe.

Bob also lives with PTSD, and carries cards which read: “I experience symptoms of post traumatic stress including higher anxiety in situations where I feel helpless, out of control, and where my choices are limited or where I feel invisible. Please give me visibility and voice as well as engage me around how I can help you help me in our time together.” Bob sees the situation around his dental care as one where his choices are limited, and one where he has not been included in the decision making process: “My way of conceptualizing it is that one component of the health care system is going to decide for me what my choices are going to be without allowing me to make an informed consent decision.… The idea of injecting myself with an air bubble without being a phlebotomist is stressing my post traumatic stress.”

A Personal Story: Cost Overshadows Everything – Anne and Evan, Lebanon

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Anne is 60 and has an 18 year old adopted son, Evan, with Downs Syndrome. Anne explains that people with Downs Syndrome have short, spindly fragile teeth that break a lot. She’s determined that her son be able to keep his teeth in the best condition possible: “His smile is his passport to the world.” Evan’s local dentist retired and that dentist’s replacement left, so Anne now has to drive from Lebanon, New Hampshire, to Burlington for dental care for Evan. Because of Evan’s Downs Syndrome, he needs to have all dental work done under anesthesia, and even routine care is complicated. He recently had an x-ray, fillings, extractions and sealants, and Anne just got the bill for $4,000. Usually Evan’s maintenance work costs $1,700, and is not covered by insurance. “It should be done every six months, but I don’t have $1,700 every six months.” Anne put the dental work on her Visa card. “On one card alone I have a $22,500 balance and almost all of it’s this.”

Anne needs to have a knee replaced. She has trouble walking, falls a lot, and she says, “the pain is excruciating.” Anne says that the cost of Evan’s dental care prevents her from having the money to get her knee replaced. “The ripple effect of this is so huge, I can hardly talk about this without crying. I can’t walk. Sometimes I order groceries in. There was no handicapped parking space tonight … I don’t know how much longer I can go on.”

A Personal Story: Top Teeth are Bad – Steven, Lebanon

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Steven is 49 and lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He just went to the local free dental clinic where he had three extractions and some fillings. “It’s basically my top teeth. My bottom teeth are fine, it’s just my top teeth that are bad.” Steven had to wait a month or two to get the work done, but the experience was good, and he’s satisfied. They told him he’s good for another year, and then, Steven says, “We’ll see.”