MAleen Haley, 66, lost her home in Florida following the 2008 recession. She currently lives in a camper near Greensboro, North Carolina, and uses social security and Medicare to cover her medical bills.
However, Haley has a tooth problem and cannot afford to have a dentist fix her teeth.
“My tooth problems are the biggest problem I have every day,” Haley said. “I need a root canal and an implant. I have an impacted tooth. After chewing a meal, I need to massage it to remove air from my gums and cheeks. Painful is a conservative expression, and this is Concerns about how it affects my heart make it worse. “
She remains independent and is worried that she will not reach a nursing home. With limited income, her decisions revolve around the most pressing ones, such as modifying her car and drug prescriptions. She was last able to visit the dentist three years ago and was given a quote of over $ 8,500 for the work she needed.
Haley is one of the millions of Americans who are not covered by dental insurance and cannot afford to pay for a wide range of dental care needs, including: Almost two-thirds Approximately 37 million Medicare beneficiaries.Ann Estimated 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance. A Research According to the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, released in April, an estimated 6 million Americans lost their dental insurance during a pandemic.
The· Disparity Oral hygiene in the United States is widespread among racial and economic lines, with blacks, hispanics, and low-income Americans having a higher incidence of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. .. More than half of Americans Due to its high cost, it avoids or delays medical care, including dental care.
Roxy Hopkins, 68, in Davenport, Iowa, and her husband have serious dental problems, but their Medicare package doesn’t cover them.
She currently needs thousands of dollars for dental treatment.
“I lost most of my teeth. I will postpone as much as possible and give only basic treatment,” Hopkins said. “It’s a shame to make all our lives work, and we live in stress and often in pain during what is called our Golden Age.”
She recently had her teeth pulled out after her crown had loosened and her gums hurt and she couldn’t eat. Meanwhile, she was trying to find a way to avoid seeing the dentist for the cost. She had her teeth pulled out for $ 235 and then had to spend another $ 200 to see an oral surgeon to pull out the roots, but she couldn’t afford the recommended treatment for an additional hundreds of dollars. was.
“I cried on my way home. I thought I wouldn’t pull the roots because of the money. When I tried it, the rest of my teeth were very sharp and my tongue was bleeding,” Hopkins added. “I need to pull out another tooth with a partial implant. This tooth is what I bite and I can’t bite now, so I have to tear the sandwich a little and put it in my mouth. Add a tooth to the partial If I can’t save money to do, I may have to live that way. “
Supporting the expansion of dental insurance Push Joe Biden and Congressman will include an expansion plan in future coronavirus or medical bailout bills. A subpoena was issued as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the racial and economic inequality of those with access to dental care. Millions of Americans have lost dental insurance and faced the economic consequences associated with pandemics, causing significant delays and avoidance of care due to high costs.
“Dental care No 1 “Medical services that Americans skip because of costs,” said Melissa Burrows, associate director of the Oral Health Campaign at Family USA, a nonprofit consumer health advocacy organization.
“Oral health is not just a health issue, but a matter of social justice and impartiality.”
For Americans like 69-year-old Elizabeth near Tampa, Florida, the expansion of dental care is not immediately feasible. She and her husband suffer from dental problems that they cannot afford to fix while relying on Medicare and Medicaid for covered prescriptions and other medical services.
According to Elizabeth, her husband’s teeth are almost gone, but he suffers from periodontitis, a severe infection of his gums.
“I have loose, painful teeth, I can’t chew the substance without pain, and I have a permanent infection that Medicare can’t treat,” she said. “Between the cost of office visits, the treatment of infections, the extraction of remaining teeth and new dentures, it is impossible for us. The small nest eggs we have saved are gone and to cover emergencies. You will run out of money. “
The couple are already living below the poverty line and rely on social security and snap support, worried about major home repairs such as roof leaks and termite epidemics, but can afford to fix it. there is no. Or hope their old car doesn’t need repair or it gets stuck.
“We are grateful for the help we have received, especially food allowances, but is our ability to make good use of food that will contribute to better health impossible to eat? It’s a fight to eat. It hurts, “said Elizabeth.
“You need to make small pieces that don’t need to chew everything, or puree into very small pieces. Otherwise, you suck up the pain and eat while your mouth becomes a minefield.”
“Your mouth will be a minefield”: Americans who can’t afford a dentist | US Healthcare
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