Tooth Truth

I am sorry that President Trump’s initiative to “repeal and replace” the Obamacare system fell through. As disappointing as it is that we are stuck with a plan that is so lacking, I would like to suggest that perhaps the system can be tweaked slightly for improvement. One of the most important items needing a desperate overhaul is dental care coverage.

Unfortunately, over the years, having had to rely on the dental care being offered by Medicaid-backed health-care plans, I had several teeth pulled instead of having them fixed, as I was informed that if I were to opt for the necessary root canal procedure I would have to pay for it, because it wasn’t covered by my “insurance.” Since the amount requested was beyond what I could afford, I had the teeth pulled. At this point, to fix my teeth so that I can chew properly would require taking out a substantial loan. Again, beyond my budget.

Just recently, my husband was suffering from tooth pain. I called my insurance to ask them for names of dentists who accept their insurance in my neighborhood. I was referred to two. I called to make an appointment and was told that as long as it was just an x-ray, exam, and cleaning we were covered; anything beyond that and there would be a charge. My husband decided to go anyway; luckily the problem was solved with a prescription for antibiotics. However, it is just a matter of time until that same tooth will demand more attention. What then?

Healthy teeth are important to the overall well-being of a person. One should not have to think twice before taking care of them. Insurance companies should work out plans with dentists so they would have the confidence to go ahead and fix their patients’ teeth, knowing they are covered.

Broken or missing teeth cause many health issues, such as infections or malnutrition, which erode a person’s quality of life. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, to invest in insuring the health of those teeth?

Obamacare needs to be amended to make sure teeth are not forgotten.

Sarah Meltser