Without Teeth In America
time I went to a dentist was a few years ago when I had an infected wisdom tooth that was making me sick. I went to a regular
dentist for a referral to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon pulled two teeth and soaked me for something like $3,000. The
regular dentist got his share just for looking in my mouth.
a little money in savings then so I could pay the bill. But it was such an extravagant bill I decided that it was going to
be the last dental visit I was going to make in my lifetime. Going to the dentist is for the very wealthy, a social group
that I do not belong to.
was a time when I was young that going to the dentist was feared because it always meant pain. The price was never that bad.
I remember not too many years back when getting a cavity drilled and filled cost something like eight dollars.
going to that same dentist when my employer began offering dental insurance. It was the first time in my life I had ever had
such insurance. So when I went to the dentist to have another cavity drilled and filled, I proudly reported that I had dental
insurance. That day my bill was $40 and my co-pay was $20. My personal cost for having a cavity fixed had more than doubled
because I had insurance.
we were in Arizona in 1996 I had a serious tooth ache and went to a dentist in Holbrook, at the edge of the Navajo Nation.
That dentist fixed my problem and installed a crown. His bill was $65.
after returning to Michigan, I had another tooth ache and went to a dentist to have it fixed. He wouldn’t look in my
mouth until I had my teeth cleaned. The cost of the cleaning was $100. Then the
dentist looked in my mouth and called in a specialist to pull the tooth. I paid another $300. My option was a trip to a nearby
city to a root canal specialist and then getting a crown. The price was going to be over $3,000. I chose to have the tooth
going into permanent retirement I worked for a while at a weekly newspaper that offered dental insurance. I used the insurance
and the money from my job to get as much repair done to my teeth as possible. It involved a couple of root canals, crowns
and a bridge.
a month after I retired that the bridge broke and one of the crowns popped loose. I cemented everything back together with
crazy glue. The crown held but the bridge only lasted a few months. I now go around without any front teeth so I don’t
smile much. And that is hard to do because I have a sense of humor that keeps my funny bone tickled most of the time. Consequently
most everybody I know also knows I don’t have any front teeth.
around without front teeth used to, and may still have an effect on a person’s social standing in a community. But as
more and more people find themselves in the same boat as I am, it is getting quite common to see people, many of them younger
than I, also appearing in public without teeth.
people don’t know is that I don’t have many other teeth either. Those left in my head are either broken or dead
from old root canals. Two teeth are broken off so I just have the roots showing. I refuse to pay the high price of having
the other teeth pulled and then buy dentures so I am waiting for Obama’s health care package in hopes that it might
include dental services.
are to go around a toothless old guy who can’t pronounce his words correctly, or go to Canada and get my dental work
the battle raging in Congress and the Senate these days over health care and wonder why these people cannot see what is happening
to Americans. They appear blinded by the fact that they have the finest health insurance coverage available anywhere. But
the rest of us are going without. Most of us ration our visits to the family doctor to the bare few necessary to keep our
prescriptions written. We never go to the doctor because we are sick. That would mean tests, X-rays and other services we
who believes the lies being dished out by the AMA and big pharma, opposing the government health care plans, is either well
heeled financially or a total fool. The rest of us know better.