A couple of years ago I wrote a post called “The Silent Epidemic” about the lack of dental care for the poor.
There’s a perception that dental health is somehow a ‘luxury’. Not for the poor, it isn’t. We are judged more harshly by our appearance than most, and teeth are a big part of that. I grew up with a kid who’d had to have his teeth removed and replaced by a dental plate before he was 12. He was ostracized by other kids, seen as retarded by the school administration even though he was quite bright, and in general placed on a path that would ensure he never rose above his ‘natural place’.
It’s something we suffer in silence and nobody else is talking about it, either. Dental insurance exists but it’s prohibitively expensive even though most dental procedures are a lot cheaper than your standard medical procedure; health insurance will pay thousands of dollars for a tonsillectomy but refuse to pay a few hundred for a root canal. I don’t, in all honesty, know why.
Maybe it’s because only the poor need help paying for such things.
I remember wanting to mention at the time that poor dental care can sometimes mean death but I didn’t write that because I didn’t think anybody would believe me.
Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday. (more…)