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Women's Bodies

Lack of Dental Care Leaves Poor in Agony — Presidential Candidates, Are You Listening?

Michael Coates cries after Dr. Heather Olson, left, of the Auburn Community Dental Clinic, tells him his blood pressure is too high for her to administer a pain-relief injection. Coates, suffering with four infected wisdom teeth, got the shot later but cannot afford to have the teeth pulled as needed.

Note: I originally posted this last February and have bumped it to the top again because people who really really need help continue to find it and post to it, and their situations are just so wrong and disturbing.   Is anybody who can make a difference — like the candidates for president — even thinking about this kind of issue?  That this situation exists is just disgusting in a country with the resources of the United States.  — Heart

This photo and the accompanying article were on the front page of the Seattle Times one day last week. The difficulties poor, working class and even middle class people have finding affordable dental care is a subject that has had me fired up for a long time, but never have I seen things so bad as they are right now for poor people.

I have struggled with this myself over many years, and still struggle with it, because I have such a large family to care for. I pay for dental insurance through my employer and most of my kids are or have been also covered through their biological father’s insurance; nevertheless, dental care is horrifically expensive. What’s worse, where I live, at least, many dentists will not treat a patient — even someone in obvious pain, as this man is — without first being paid the estimated patient’s share of the bill up front.

I remember years ago, dentists would work with you, let you make payment arrangements for necessary treatment. From what I have witnessed, not any more. If you don’t pay up ahead of time or right away after you’ve been treated, even in instances in which most of your bill is covered by insurance, they send you to collections. If you don’t pay up quickly once your bill has gone to collection, you will end up sued, then garnisheed.


Care that all human beings need in order to be healthy.

We aren’t talking about something that is frivolous or that should be viewed as a luxury.

To cope with this inexcusable state of affairs, people are dealing with their dental problems as this man did and some of my grown kids have. They carry around bottles of ice water, swish it around their aching jaws, spit it out when it’s not cold anymore, then another mouth full of ice water. They gulp aspirin. They don’t eat on that side. Maybe they go to dentists who just pull people’s teeth for a living and get their aching teeth pulled. As one person says in this article, “That’s the treatment poor people get–they get their teeth pulled.” In my state it the majority of dentists no longer accept Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays only 30 percent of what private insurers pay (and of course, Medicaid patients can’t pay the difference, couldn’t pay the difference between what private insurers paid and what they owed even if they had private insurance.)

A recent situation in my extended family is right on topic. A woman relative developed colon cancer and had to have surgery and then chemotherapy over years, basically. Her husband was retired from the Civil Service — he had been an airplane mechanic — and so they were covered by insurance, but it didn’t nearly cover my relative’s colon-cancer-associated expenses. She ended up with thousands and thousands of dollars of uncovered bills. During the time she was being treated, her husband got all of his aching and infected teeth pulled. It was his only choice. A “full mouth reconstruction,” which is what the dentist prescribed for his many decayed, infected and mobile teeth, would have cost more than $15,000, by far most of it not covered by insurance. Dentures were made for him, but he didn’t have the $900-plus he needed to pay the non-insured portion of the bill so they stayed with the dentist until he could pay. To make a long story short, my relative and her husband ended up selling their home, which they’d lived in for more than 20 years, in an attempt to pay some of their medical bills and get these dentures. When the husband finally showed up for his dentures — all of this time he was walking around completely toothless — the dentist who was holding them until the $900 was paid had either moved or retired; in any event, he was no longer in practice. Meaning the husband had to start over with another dentist. (As an aside, my relative and her husband finally declared bankruptcy. My relative’s treatment for colon cancer and her husband’s dental and other health problems destroyed them financially. In their 60s, after a lifetime of working very hard, both of them, at blue collar jobs and raising five sons, they lost their home and everything they had.)

Missing teeth make it difficult for people to chew their food, to eat and get proper nutrition. Missing teeth in the front especially make it hard for people to get jobs, make it more likely that they will be mistreated, marginalized, because in our culture, missing teeth equal poverty or worse, mean that you “don’t care about your looks”, and that means something clearly is wrong with you, because what “normal” person “doesn’t care about her looks” and walks around with teeth missing? And obviously, infected and decaying teeth are unhealthy and have been connected with heart disease and many other problems.

When I think about this, I can hardly contain my anger. This rich nation has the wherewithal to care for the dental needs of every man, woman and child living here many times over. Instead we spend billions to bomb Iraq and to make life more pleasant for the likes of CEOs at Exxon, which, it was reported last week, earned $3,750 profit every three seconds last quarter. The average working person in the U.S. earns one cent every three seconds. That children and adults, the poor, anyone in this country must suffer without dental care is beyond a national disgrace. It is yet another thing that makes me ashamed I am an American.

There was a heartfelt response to the situation of the man in the photo, and as it turned out, Seattle Times readers made it possible for him to get his eight infected teeth — four molars, four wisdom teeth — pulled and to get his other dental needs met. He was thrilled–he had been in pain with these teeth for eight years. But he said something I know to be true–he said there is nothing unusual about his situation. He said to find out about that, just go to any clinic which on some basis, one day a week or month, treats poor people. He said you will see them lined up from hours before the clinic opens, in large numbers, all of them holding their teeth, crying, all of them in pain.



70 thoughts on “Lack of Dental Care Leaves Poor in Agony — Presidential Candidates, Are You Listening?

  1. For example, one of my daughters is schedule to have her wisdom teeth pulled this Friday. Although she is covered by her dad’s insurance and mine, the uncovered amount is estimated to be $200. I participate in a 125 plan at work that allows me to have a certain amount of pre-tax dollars set aside each paycheck for these uncovered expenses. It’s only February, though, and once this $200 is paid, I will already have used about a third of the amount I am setting aside for this year, because already in January two other family members have had emergency problems with their teeth. Nevertheless, I am so much better off than most people, who don’t have dental insurance at all, who don’t have jobs, who can’t make use of 125 plans, who don’t have any money, who just have toothaches no one will take care of for them, without cash on the barrelhead.


    Posted by womensspace | February 5, 2007, 7:47 pm
  2. So true, Heart. I am in a similar situation; I don’t have dental insurance (or medical insurance) even though I have a job. I lost a filling about a year and a half ago or so. It took me a year to even be able to get to the dentist; I paid $285 out of pocket (on my credit card) for x-rays, exam and cleaning. They told me I might need just a filling, but could possibly need a root canal, which would cost $1600 for the procedure and the crown. Guess what? I am still living with a hole in my tooth. It hurts, but only intermittently, so I feel lucky. I just don’t chew on that side. I live about five hours from the border with Mexico and at some point I hope to get down there and get it taken care of for about half the cost of what I’d pay in the US–that includes travel, lodging, the appointment, the procedure, and the crown itself. Half. Just by crossing the border.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 5, 2007, 10:23 pm
  3. For the first time since I was 18, I haven’t gotten my annual cleaning. Last Nov. came and went, and I still can’t afford it. I’m lucky, since this is the first time I’ve had to skip care, my teeth are hopefully in good shape. But it makes me furious.

    And I’m glad Michael Coates got those teeth removed, but you can be sure no one is lining up to help him, or anybody else, with that high blood pressure.

    Posted by spottedele | February 5, 2007, 10:42 pm
  4. My partner has dental insurance, and paid $600 for the same procedure that cost me, the one without dental insurance, $1000. I certainly conclude that persons such as myself are paying for other’s dental insurance. What I paid likely makes up the difference from what the insurance company reimbursed the dentist, for those clients that come with insurance. So, the dentist uses person’s such as myself to offset dealing with insurance companies.

    So, those least able to pay, the uninsured, are charged more than those with insurance.

    That’s just my personal experience with dentists.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 5, 2007, 11:47 pm
  5. Yeah, despite working, I don’t have dental insurance. My husband and I are both contractors, so we carry our own.

    I had an infected tooth pulled, to the tune of several hundred, and since it would cost over 1000 to have an insert, and the tooth is off to the side, I just left it. I consider myself lucky too, because I had room on my credit card and I can make payments. Your perspective gets odd at times.

    As for cancer, don’t get me started. Mom has had it for 4 years and despite state insurance (working at a job you loathe for 30 years at least gets you semi-decent benefits), and supplemental cancer insurance, I’m amazed at the bills. She had to have Procrit twice a month at 500 dollars a shot.

    Posted by Miranda | February 6, 2007, 12:43 am
  6. I don’t have dental insurance and do have advanced periodontal disease from not having regular cleanings for the duration of my brief but unfortunate marriage. The bottle of ice water would be excruciatingly painful for me: cold, heat, and sweets feel like an ice pick on my dental nerves. I have to heat water to room temperature before I can brush and even then the first stroke of the toothbrush is incredibly painful.

    dd needs her wisdom teeth out and even if I do get some practice taking out my own teeth with a pair of pliars and a bottle of brandy, something that terrifies me even though it is a matter-of-fact do-what-you-have-to-do treatment for many Americans, that’s not going to help her because her wisdom teeth are impacted and will never erupt.

    Thank you so much for blogging about this and sharing your stories; it’s a health issue, not a matter of vanity. One of my biggest fears of becoming homeless is that I cannot nourish myself properly without electricty to run my blender (I have no back teeth for chewing) and microwave (to heat foods and beverages to body temperature so that they are not painful).

    Posted by anonymom | February 6, 2007, 1:13 am
  7. Hey Amy,

    I’ve been chewing out of one side of my mouth for five years now for the same reason. The timing of this post is perfect as I’m going in tomorrow to finally resolve this thing, although I’ve already been warned it could take more than one visit. I already paid $100.00 out of pocket just so the dentist could blow cold air on my poor tooth (OUCH!) and then watch me bite down on a piece of plastic.

    I’m putting everything on another piece of plastic as I just can’t stand it anymore. I haven’t bitten down on a whole piece of fruit in half a decade and I’m sick of it.

    As of now, my estimate for tomorrow’s work is $485.00 but, again, they aren’t making any guarantees. I know I’m so lucky I can charge this. I feel for the people who cannot. No one should have to be in constant pain.

    Heart, what ever happened to sliding-scale fees? It dates me but I remember when all kinds of professionals offered them. Now the first thing they do when they find out your uninsured is ask for a credit card. No options. Well, at least not in the ‘burbs.

    Posted by gayle | February 6, 2007, 1:20 am
  8. Oh, and Heart–

    You are so right about the stigma attached to missing teeth. I’m finding anything short of a perfect –and I mean model perfect–smile warrants derision. Cosmetic dental work, such as whitening or caps, isn’t considered a luxury anymore. It’s work you “should have done.”

    Posted by gayle | February 6, 2007, 1:33 am
  9. anonymom,

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

    Posted by gayle | February 6, 2007, 1:36 am
  10. I hate this country sometimes!!!! I’m so glad you’re bringing attention to this, Heart. I don’t have anything to add except HOW are we going to change the mentality of Americans so that we have some sense of social responsibility?? Of mutual dependence? I blame it all on Ronald Reagan (though I know it goes deeper.)

    Meanwhile, the vet told me that my cat needed $600 worth of dental surgery which I couldn’t afford. Then my fat cat’s bad tooth fell out and he’s fine. Rich yuppies in my area spend a fortune on their pets’ teeth though. What a society.

    My sympathies to everyone going through these medical/financial crises. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Posted by roamaround | February 6, 2007, 2:22 am
  11. Ugh, listen to everybody’s dental war stories! Sliding scale? Not any more, not that I’ve ever found. If you don’t have plastic enough to pay, they have these other programs, basically credit cards, that you sign up for that pay them up front and then you make monthly payments, usually at high interest.

    Of course if you have no job and shitty credit, you can’t qualify for programs like that either.

    Some of the problem is the gigantosaurus rex cost of liability insurance because of gigantic judgments in lawsuits. This is where I think more and more we need these new programs, some being developed in my area, where people pay fixed rates, cash, for medical/dental care and for meds to providers who agree to participate. No insurance is used, billed, asked for, which eliminates all of these middle persons who have to bill insurance, deal with payments, etc., meds are WAY cheaper, doctors spend much more time with patients, and there is a sliding scale for visits, something like between $20-$50 or something like that for an exam and again, you just pay cash. The problem with this kind of plan is, as you get older, especially, you need catastrophic insurance at least and that would cost as much for me as insurance through my employer, but if I didn’t have all these dependents, that’s definitely what I’d do.

    I am wary of limiting judgments in medical malpractice lawsuits (we’ve had lots of lobbying for that in my state) to keep liability insurance costs down because that’s really the ONLY check we have on really shitty doctors and hospitals. We all know they do NOT police their own or get rid of the bad apples. Not to mention that now that the rates are astronomical, even if we put a cap on malpractice judgments, the rates aren’t going down all that much. That’s fascism, oops capitalism, the American way. UGH.

    anonymom, I WISH I COULD HELP. Dangit! I’ve had teeth like that, too, that I have to coddle with warm or tepid water and sensitive to EVERYTHING. I’ve lost quite a few teeth — there’s some truth to “A tooth for every child” — so far, I’ve been able to keep enough in the back to chew and to get crowns and bridges on my front teeth, but I always feel fragile like that, especially as I get older. If I get sick, if I lose my job, what then. Once you start losing teeth in visible places and can’t get crowns and bridges, talk about expense, you become less and less marketable so far as jobs go.

    anonymom, I’m guessing you’ve tried everything, but if not, might as well throw this in, if you’re near a university with a dental school, you can get work done very cheap that way by students supervised by professors. One of my sons was dating a dental hygiene student for a while and he got a buttload of cavities filled and other work done that she and other students had to do to fulfill their requirements and he paid just about nothing. Usually, though, there are big waiting lines for these programs so you have to have some kind of “in” and especially now.

    This situation absolutely disgusts me, it is SO wrong.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 4:14 am
  12. Here’s a link to one of these new cash-only/no insurance medical plans. I always dream of how cool it would be if women would get together and create plans like this for women, with women doctors/midwives/doulas/herbalists/alternative healers participating.

    It really is an awesome idea.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 4:20 am
  13. Yeah I had a doctor like this in Maine, and he was great. He didn’t have an office, came to the house, and charged $2/minute rounded to the nearest 15 minutes. He tested pee in the bathroom. He was great. I miss him.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 6, 2007, 6:19 am
  14. We live in a country that penalizes people for being poor. When both medical and dental insurance are available only to people who earn enough money to afford it, when you are charged less for care if you have insurance than if you don’t, and if, when even with insurance, severe problems will result in ever increasing and insurmountable personal debt and when bankrupcy laws are then tightened so that it is much harder to get out of debt, you live in a country that has no heart. Our prez is asking for cutbacks in medicaid and considers offering taxbreaks for the purchase of health insurance an answer to the uninsured, as if making insurance cost a little less will make a big difference for people. And of course we all here know that women and children are disproportinately effected by all of this. It is enough to make you cry.

    Posted by jfr | February 6, 2007, 11:26 am
  15. My father needs to have his bridge work replaced. Quoted price: seven thousand dollars. We cannot afford to have it done.

    The orginal bridge work was put in just after WW II. Free of charge, part of his GI benefits and it lasted all these years. Now THOSE were benefits!

    Posted by Branjor | February 7, 2007, 12:50 pm
  16. It’s basically impossible to find a dentist that will take medicaid over here. Though there are some low-income dental clinics that are good, they can’t do root canals, and medicaid won’t cover them. Which is rediculous, because I know a lot of people who end up in the ER with uncontrollable toothache pain, and that visit has got to cost more than the root canal would have, you know?

    Posted by Beansa | February 8, 2007, 10:47 am
  17. After spending nearly two years in pain after one, then two, then another filling fell out… I decided to head to the dentist to see what they could do about fixing the issues. I simply got tired of chewing on one side and taking tylenol like a child in a candy store. I was excited about going because I had recently signed up for Dental Insurace through my work.

    I went to the Dentist and the outcome was worse than I had anticipated. I have three root canals, 7 cavities, and because of an extensive battle with a drug addiction 4 and a half years ago… my jaw is deteriorating. I was expecting a cleaning and a few fillings when I went however, all of the e-rays, exams, etc… maxed out my insurance and the dentist said I would have to come back when I had the money. Their estimate: $11,501. I feel completely devistated. I tried to find other Dental Care Assistance… but couldn’t find any. It will simply be cheaper and quicker to get dentures at the age of 25. I told my Dentist I was considering that as an option and he simply said no. My other teeth are in good shape. Thinking to myself… “what … the other 8”.

    Posted by Lane | February 9, 2007, 9:17 pm
  18. After I saw this article here, I wrote to the reporter to ask if there was some way to help. The suggestion was to make a donation to the University of Washington’s dental program. In case your readers are interested:

    You may send a check to the University of Washington Foundation with a note on the memo line that the donation goes to the School of Dentistsry Fund #65-3105.

    UW School of Dentistry
    Box 357137
    Seattle, WA 98195-7137

    Or on the web: The direct link to the page with the fund (which is about a third of the way down the list)

    Anonymom, if you are willing, perhaps people here could start a letter-writing campaign on your behalf. Michael Coates, the man in the article, has received enough help that he should be able to get the care he needs. This is the power of the press. But it can also work to ask representatives for help or even to appeal directly to a dental practice, as well. I’m not a regular here, so I hope this suggestion is ok. If not, I’d be happy to try to coordinate it from my own blog. Email me if you’re interested.

    Posted by plainsfeminist | February 11, 2007, 4:49 am
  19. Is there a university dental school near you, and if there is, I would suggest you make an appointment with the dean, and plead your case.

    Are you teaching your children to floss and brush after every meal? If floss and toothpaste are too expensiver to buy (and they are) buy a ball of white baby knitting yarn and use that. For toothpaste, make a little dab of paste in the child’s hand with baking soda and water.

    To keep your mouth clean but also firm your periodontal tissue (gums) gargle with a mild salt water solution. Don’t make these up in bulk, make enough for one use each time.

    Please let us know what happens. I am appalled at American healthcare. But universal Canadian healthcare does not cover dental either.

    Posted by Pony | February 17, 2007, 6:19 pm
  20. yeah, I saw a dentist get raided on cops for operating an illegal dentistry
    out of his ghetto apartment..It didn`t look very clean, but I bet the rates
    where good I`d do it too bad he got arrested. Like they shut him down because they care about you and dont want you to get infected from a ghetto
    dentist..because you can die from just letting yuor teeth rot in your head from infection I`d take my chances with the crazy guy with the plyers vs. dieing
    from doing least you might get another infection or remove an
    infection vs. just keeping yur infection..
    go be a guinea pig for lab studies for $ or maybe theres a study involving
    your tooth condition

    Posted by femputer | February 17, 2007, 6:32 pm
  21. I’m thinking of all this as I face the end of my Ontario government diability benefits in 2 years, when I turn 65.

    At 65, all Canadians qualify for the the old age pension, which is a pittance, with no dental benefits. Drugs are paid for, for all over 65, even rich folks.

    On disability, I get “basic dental” which includes fillings and extractions, but no crowns, bridges, or dentures.

    If I can persuade my dentist to extract all my teeth before I am 65, I’ll get it done so that it will be paid for by ODSP. Then I will just be facing the expense of full dentures.

    In the USA, people are heading for Mexico to get dental work done at a fraction of the American price. Some people have had good experience with this. I am going to research this in the next year. Depending on the results, I will likely head to Mexico to get dentures, and if necessary, extractions (if my dentist won’t do them).

    My teeth are slowly rotting anyway. Restoration only slows the process, it doesn’t halt it.

    It’s healthier to have a head full of non-diseased gums, and to gum your food, than to have a head full of rotting teeth.

    One of my doctors, who was English by birth and education, told me that the most common cause of death in England in the 19th century was infected teeth.


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 17, 2007, 9:22 pm
  22. Oops … I used the word “r!ch” without inverting the i.

    Post will appear eventually.



    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 17, 2007, 9:23 pm
  23. I hadn’t seen a dentist for almost 14 years when I did so recently. My teeth were perfect. Not a thing they could find to do except offer me the flouride treatment, which I refused. However, the dental school had done a ton of work in my and my children’s mouths–well no just me really because they only needed braces–about 20 years ago. All for minimum fee, and all carefully supervised and checked over by the professors. The work was so fine, that whenever I present now for a cleaning, which I have done every year since then, they call the students over to see, in my mouth, the finest bridgework ever seen, done by the famed Dr. X. Thousands and thousands of dollars of work, for about $900 over a couple years. At one point I thought if anyone shoved a hairy hand in my mouth again I would bite the sucker off. Then, in the late ’80s to early ’90s, they didn’t use gloves.

    But more sympathetically, I still think you should try to keep your teeth Mary.

    Posted by Pony | February 17, 2007, 11:27 pm
  24. Not to disagree with you Mary, but I don’t anyone immigrating to find out they are not better covered here than there. *Some* drugs are paid for, and usually they will be the generic. For those that are covered, most provinces require you to pay the first $50 or something like that, then beyond that your drug is covered. Likely, your new cardiovascular drug, or new cancer drug, or new arthritis drug is not covered under any circumstances. Each province decides which drugs will be on the formulary, and how much, if any, of the cost will be covered for those that drugs which are on the formulary. Likewise, you will be covered for a basic cast if you break your leg skiiing or surfing, but those with extra money or private insurance can get whatever super duper cast they can afford.

    It’s all paid for, by you the taxpayer. Something in the fine print on your citizenship papers a lot of people miss. Be prepared to pay, one way or the other. Universal comes at a high cost.

    Posted by Pony | February 18, 2007, 12:15 am
  25. Non-universal comes at a high cost too! It seems like access to healthcare is a problem that hasn’t been solved, on any side of any border.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 18, 2007, 12:48 pm
  26. Amy sure they both cost, and I still choose our system over the for-profit systems. I think people here must be generally healthier, from what I read about the US. Just wish our universal system hadn’t been so watered down in the last several years. What’s happening is conservative govts here hand in hand with Bush et al have dropped coverage on almost everything to make way for private enterprise. Since the NAFTA that means American for profit healthcare companies will be coming in. And we can’t turn them back.

    Posted by Pony | February 18, 2007, 4:20 pm
  27. Hey there Tracy. I sure am sorry for your ordeal and I hope you can work it out. I have a little info about dental care in Mexico so if you think that would help you, please email me privately via my site.

    I don’t know what other info you might have, but I would hesitate to base an assumption that all native people receive priority for dental treatment at your clinic based on one incident. Since most native people don’t receive priority treatment for anything (unless the clinic is on reservation land or otherwise has a mandate to serve the native community) I would seriously doubt that this is the case and would encourage you to investigate that further, by asking frank questions of the clinic staff, rather than assuming some kind of “reverse discrimination.”

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 20, 2007, 10:28 pm
  28. It really does sound as though you haven’t much choice Tracy, what with the distance and your child care needs. However I think you’d not want them to do the work too much more quickly. It’s not going to be pleasant. If you could just make an appointment, and be able to write requesting that, with all you’ve said here, I and cc it to your congressman… I’m reaching here, but often getting a politician on your side can help. I realize you don’t have much time, and are probably exhausted dealing with your family and possibly bacterial infection too, which usually goes along with what you’re describing.

    As for who gets what at dental schools, the only qualification I know of here is dental health need, and financial. I’ve always qualified. But I would not hesitate one minute to call my member of parliament, or member of legislative assembley, and if that didn’t work, you bet I’d be on the blower to the most hound dog nasty reporter with all my story, tears, and restless kids–right in the newsroom.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Pony | February 21, 2007, 12:17 am
  29. The only thing I can think of for the native people getting priority dental work, if indeed that is happening, is that the band council (or whatever it’s called there) or the federal government may have paid a whack up front to buy X number of hours for the nearby reserve, or people who are Treaty. I don’t know the whole system of native rights *yah yah Donna I know* is different here.

    Posted by Pony | February 21, 2007, 12:25 am
  30. “In response to Plainsfeminist’s comment on Feb. 11, 2007, who are the “representatives” you suggest one asks for help? And what are the types of “appeals” to make “directly to a dental practice” – what to do?”

    I was thinking that you should contact your elected representatives – state level might be a good place to start. Find the House rep(s) for your district and see if you can get in to see him/her, and tell this person what you’ve said here – and tell him/her that you’d be grateful if s/he could try to help. Now, you may not get anywhere with this – BUT you might. This is the kind of situation that could make a politician look good, on the one hand, and on the other, this is the kind of thing that they’re supposed to be able to help with. You’ve tried to use the system as it’s intended, and it’s not working, so now you start going to all the elected officials who could maybe pull some strings and get you an appt.

    Since you’re a student, I’d also start asking trusted teachers and advisors if they know any good dentists. If they do, talk to them about your situation. Doctors and dentists will sometimes do work for very reduced rates or for free in certain situations. What you need is someone to help you find the dentist who will do it and to put in a good word for you. I would also ask friends, neighbors – anyone who might have a good friend or family member who is a good dentist.

    Does that help? I know it seems like a long shot, but my dad once got a job via a similar approach, after being unemployed for a long time. And I once had a doctor waive his office visit fee when I didn’t have insurance. So it can happen, sometimes.

    Posted by plainsfeminist | February 23, 2007, 4:43 am
  31. I fully see myself that it doesn’t matter to this Insurance compaines they take our money and will not even help pay for the Dental work that needs done when it comes down to needing the work we need…..
    I’ve been going to a Dentist over 2 yrs. now and i still can’t afford to get the work i need on my teeth because of the Loop Holes in these Stinking Dental Plans they have out here..So’the Poor or Middle class people are screwed like myself..I have a bad Cross Bite And can’t even chew food because most of my teeth are gone!! 5 on the bottom and 9 on top and none of them meet anymore…..I hate this World !

    Posted by P.Phillips | February 26, 2007, 11:42 pm
  32. I highly recommend the Mexico route – if you are close enough, you can find American docs that have simply setup to cut costs. If you’re new to the process, look around online for Tijuana Dentists, Reviews of TJ dentists, etc. Find a reputable one and save a lot of dough. I have a buddy that’s done this for 20 years – perfect teeth and a full wallet are the results.

    Posted by Jonathan | April 4, 2007, 1:11 am
  33. Wow, I am glad to have found this site to vent my dental woes. I am a single mother who once was on welfare, years ago. What I found with that system is all they do is pull their patients teeth and do substandard dental work. While on medi-cal, I did have the most beautiful teeth, white as white can get, you would have never thought I had a problem. My jobs that I obtained once off of welfare did not offer health insurance and the ones that did I could not afford. I now have dental insurance through my employer, but the copays are killing me. I have to cancel many of our appts. because I cannot afford the copays. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with severe periodontal disease. This devastated me. I am someone that always smiles, now I was dealing with gaps and ugly teeth, they yuck mouth look, and always brushed and flossed religiously. I loved my smile. Now I am down to a temporary partial, I have not been able to replace and a bunch of scattered teeth in my mouth that makes me embarrassed to smile. I had a consult with my dentist about it because I have to work and I am not comfortable going around without teeth, I mean I literally wanted to commit suicide. He told me it would cost me 7000.00 to pull all of my teeth and place bone in the gum just so I could support a denture. Well of course I have not been back and the disease is bad and I can have a stroke or anything, but what can I do. I don’t want dentures and when the teeth do fall out I will probably have to quit my job and be homeless. I don’t want to go out without teeth. I am on my fifth day of eating cream of wheat because I hate chewing with the partial that basically doesnt fit, all of my teeth that I have left are decayed so I am limited to a smileless face most of the time. Tried to get on extreme makeover, but heck I don’t know if I’d get picked but it would be embarrasing as well. Just my hurt to add

    Posted by Triana | May 24, 2007, 8:00 pm
  34. I have to say I truly sympathize with anyone who has any dental problems. I am only 22 years old, and a mother of 2. I have already had to have 11 teeth pulled in my mouth just because they were too bad for fillings and I couldn’t afford the 1,800$ per tooth my dentist wanted for root canals. Now the rest of my teeth are too bad to be saved. I’m am not joking when I say that I only have 1 tooth in my mouth that hasn’t started to fall apart … so here I am now, 22 years old, and trying to find a way to pay for all of my teeth to be pulled and get dentures. I never in a million years thought that I would need dentures at such a young age, and no it isn’t because I didn’t or don’t take care of my teeth. I have tried Medicaid, but they will only pay a fraction of the costs for my upcoming work.

    Posted by Carla | June 2, 2007, 3:45 pm
  35. Triana and Carla, all I can say is


    Dear goddess on high, dental and gum diseases are a serious issue for SO many reasons!

    It can make a person want to move to Canada, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, somewhere, anywhere with even vaguely evolved provisions for basic dental and medical care!

    I think it is SUCH a hideous commentary that out of desperation, Triana, you’ve thought of trying to get on “Extreme Makeover.” You’re so right though, maybe you have a chance with people for whom it is all about beauty! But when it’s all about health, oh, never mind, the poor can go toothless. For years dentists refused to pull teeth because the priority was on saving them. Well, hell. What if a person can’t afford to plunk down a couple of thousand bucks per tooth for root canal and a crown for herself and her kids? Or, more on point, they plunk down what they can plunk down and end up with a “temporary” filling and work they can never afford to complete. Then the temporary filling breaks and the tooth blows up. If they’re lucky and have insurance at that point, THEN the tooth that it was so important to “save” finally gets pulled, because all it is is a pit. So much for “saving” people’s teeth.

    I have to say I have never in my life seen so many people walking around missing teeth as I do these days, a testimony to corporate greed and a completely unconcerned administration.


    Posted by womensspace | June 2, 2007, 7:47 pm
  36. I went to the museum of an ex CCC camp (you know, Federally funded work for the displaced/starving during the Depression) and saw a list of what the requirements were to join (basically, you had to be willing and able to build trails, etc.). The one that most impressed me was “must have at least two natural functioning teeth.” I thought: that many people that young had that few? And I guess, yes.

    Posted by profacero | June 3, 2007, 6:01 am
  37. Heart,

    In Canada, basic dental care is provided gratis *only* to people on provincial disabilty benefits, and then *only* in *some* provinces, such as Ontario.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | June 3, 2007, 1:11 pm



    A humble appeal for generosity to a well deserved person in very-special condition-being…

    I Neeru Oberoi, wife of Vineet Oberoi states a brief history. Unfortunately Vineet & his brother became a victim Of Hiv/Aids, due to severe haemophilia a disease, faulty blood transfusion at army hospital in Delhi. His elder brother died in the year 2001 the surviving brother Vineet Oberoi requires regularly costly medicines. It difficult to purchase due to short funds, as a result Vineet facing some others problem also.his right knee & left elbow arthritis we do not have funds and nor a job.we are living in a rent house and depends for everything vineet’s parents
    they are getting only india if we do not have any source of power/money or other high links than our life useless nobady can
    like you.above all we can’t go hear and there.

    We need your blessings in the shape of adoption or sponsorship/membership in your any foundation/organization/. I have send my appeal to many respective but so far not received any substantial response.

    I along with my Vineet shell ever remain indebted to you respective sir/madam and will pray for Your healthy and happy with prosperity long life. God blessings always showering on you for supporting and helping the ailing humanity.With all humanity…I submit.

    Mrs. Vineet Oberoi,
    A-85, G.F.

    Dr.Nalin Nag.
    (Internal medicine) indraprastha Apollo hospital in Delhi. (India)
    Contact no. is 9810036808.

    respected sir, i send you prescription,right now we need urgently
    need factor viii.please we will be ever greatful to you,save my holy-
    soul’s precious life with smile.

    Regular medicines required for the treatment detail as for as are:

    1. anti heamophilia 2000.units twice a week,
    factor vlll. (16,000.units.per month)

    2.tablet nyrin month.
    3.tablet zocon
    (fluconzole) month.
    4.tablet viraday month

    And other fistful medicines (9.tablet) we purchase because we don’t know there

    Posted by mr.vineet & mrs.neeru | June 27, 2007, 6:10 am
  39. Mr. Vineet and Ms. Neeru, I am going to pass your appeal on to an organization which may be able to help you. I met a woman this past weekend at Outland who is working with this group which provides, among many other things, much-needed medicines.

    I am hoping others who read can help. I wish you all the best.


    Posted by womensspace | June 27, 2007, 6:23 am
  40. I am on disability and have a history of Masses on my spine. Well I have been very high doses of steroids and grind my teeth from painfrom my neck to my feet. They said is is the high dose steroids, but my teeth are actually crumbling. I have a hard time eating and now it is affecting my speech. Well I called SSDI to find a Dentist and as of September 2005 the Government dropped Dental. I have swollen lymph nodes in my neck and behind my ears, I know it is from my teeth. I went to several dentist and they gave me a plan from $15,000.00 to one wanted $30,000.00. I tryed their payment plan which I was turned down immediately due to my disability is nothing. Last week of the month I usually have to get by on canned food. Beans, mac & cheese. I am a Registered Nurse and worked Cardiac Critical Care and the last 2 years I worked the Emergency Room. 22 years of 12 to 16 hour shifts, don’t get me wrong I loved it, I was a month away from becoming a flight nurse for our bistate air rescue. I worked a year thinking the pain was from a pinched nerve. Do you know of any organization that do dental repair for the sick. I am also a , or I was a volunteer for Red Cross. Was suppose to go to NYC after 9-11, but they called the wrong numbers and I missed my flight. I am not one to ask, but I need help and I loose weight very easy from being chronically nauseated from pain. I would voulunteer, making phone calls or anything over the net, because I have to stay in a recumbent 45- 60 degree position. But if I have a successful surgery, I would replay or donate monies. Thank you for your Kind ears.
    Barbara Dietrich, R.N.

    Posted by Barbara Dietrich | June 28, 2007, 4:33 am
    GODFATHER & FEEL OUR….nomatter we are indian………………………………………




    A humble appeal for generosity to a well deserved person in very-special condition-being…

    I Neeru Oberoi, wife of Vineet Oberoi states a brief history. Unfortunately Vineet & his brother became a victim Of Hiv/Aids, due to severe haemophilia a disease, faulty blood transfusion at army hospital in Delhi. His elder brother died in the year 2001 the surviving brother Vineet Oberoi requires regularly costly medicines. It difficult to purchase due to short funds, as a result Vineet facing some others problem also.his right knee & left elbow arthritis we do not have funds and nor a job.we are living in a rent house and depends for everything vineet’s parents
    they are getting only india if we do not have any source of power/money or other high links than our life useless nobady can
    like you.above all we can’t go hear and there.

    We need your blessings in the shape of adoption or sponsorship/membership in your any foundation/organization/. I have send my appeal to many respective but so far not received any substantial response.

    I along with my Vineet shell ever remain indebted to you respective sir/madam and will pray for Your healthy and happy with prosperity long life. God blessings always showering on you for supporting and helping the ailing humanity.With all humanity…I submit.

    Mrs. Vineet Oberoi,
    A-85, G.F.

    Dr.Nalin Nag.
    (Internal medicine) indraprastha Apollo hospital in Delhi. (India)
    Contact no. is 9810036808.

    respected sir, i send you prescription,right now we need urgently
    need factor viii.please we will be ever greatful to you,save my holy-
    soul’s precious life with smile.

    Regular medicines required for the treatment detail as for as are:

    1. anti heamophilia 2000.units twice a week,
    factor vlll. (16,000.units.per month)

    2.tablet nyrin month.
    3.tablet zocon
    (fluconzole) month.
    4.tablet viraday month

    And other fistful medicines (9.tablet) we purchase because we don’t know there

    Posted by mr.vineet & mrs.neeru | July 6, 2007, 6:11 am




    A humble appeal for generosity to a well deserved person in very-special condition-being…

    I Neeru Oberoi, wife of Vineet Oberoi states a brief history. Unfortunately Vineet & his brother became a victim Of Hiv/Aids, due to severe haemophilia a disease, faulty blood transfusion at army hospital in Delhi. His elder brother died in the year 2001 the surviving brother Vineet Oberoi requires regularly costly medicines. It difficult to purchase due to short funds, as a result Vineet facing some others problem also.his right knee & left elbow arthritis we do not have funds and nor a job.we are living in a rent house and depends for everything vineet’s parents
    they are getting only india if we do not have any source of power/money or other high links than our life useless nobady can
    like you.above all we can’t go hear and there.

    We need your blessings in the shape of adoption or sponsorship/membership in your any foundation/organization/. I have send my appeal to many respective but so far not received any substantial response.

    I along with my Vineet shell ever remain indebted to you respective sir/madam and will pray for Your healthy and happy with prosperity long life. God blessings always showering on you for supporting and helping the ailing humanity.With all humanity…I submit.

    Mrs. Vineet Oberoi,
    A-85, G.F.

    Dr.Nalin Nag.
    (Internal medicine) indraprastha Apollo hospital in Delhi. (India)
    Contact no. is 9810036808.

    respected sir, i send you prescription,right now we need urgently
    need factor viii.please we will be ever greatful to you,save my holy-
    soul’s precious life with smile.

    Regular medicines required for the treatment detail as for as are:

    1. anti heamophilia 2000.units twice a week,
    factor vlll. (16,000.units.per month)

    2.tablet nyrin month.
    3.tablet zocon
    (fluconzole) month.
    4.tablet viraday month

    And other fistful medicines (9.tablet) we purchase because we don’t know there

    Posted by mr.vineet & mrs.neeru | July 9, 2007, 6:30 am
  43. Mr. Vineet and Mrs. Neeru, I have sent inquiries to two organizations I know of which might be able to help you. I am hoping I will hear from them this week and will let you know immediately.

    My heart goes out to you and I will do my best to help.


    Posted by womensspace | July 9, 2007, 6:43 am
  44. Just wanted everyone to know, in the event someone could use this info, that I have e-mailed the following organizations trying to get help for these dear people:

    Pastors for Peace — I met a woman at Outland who was on her way to join with a Pastors for Peace mission to Cuba which included delivering medicines. (Kinda scary, keep her and the group in your thoughts because these groups get detained.) Anyway, these are not the misogynist, patriarchal kinds of pastors, these are liberation theology/progressive types, i.e., Jim Wallis of Sojourners type people

    Doctors Without Borders

    Pharmacists Without Borders

    I’ll keep everybody posted as to what I hear back, other resources I’m directed to, etc.


    Posted by womensspace | July 11, 2007, 10:18 pm
  45. Great thing to do, Heart, linking them up with these groups.

    Good luck, mr. vineet and mrs. neeru!

    I will keep the group going to Cuba in my thoughts.

    Posted by Branjor | July 12, 2007, 12:12 am
  46. IF YOU ARE DISABLED or know someone who is, and in need of dental care, please go to National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped (NFDH). They have a program called DONATED DENTAL SERVICES. Their phone number is (303) 534-5360, and their website is

    And please, help spread the word!

    Posted by Cheryl | July 24, 2007, 5:08 am
    to us.But the actually some human-being never feel our pain,
    who really involve in this cause.maybe destiny never come in our life’s main happiness is that i want to give some joy & natural a great smile to my precious vineet.actually i can
    feel his pain,his mentally power,his fighting with daily hours,
    his strong mental level capecity above all he is doing because
    i described to him in just two words…HOLY-SOUL………………
    i saw & read him in a newspaper that time i was working in mother teresa’s home at calcutta(india).i want to be a kind &
    honest nun like holy mother.but i pure vegi,that’s why mother
    told me,you must go where,someone needs you there.then i
    discovered to vineet in two and half years and we got married
    in october..1999 year.
    many people have the position in this world to do some for my
    vineet and give blessings in the shape of some anykind of gift.
    god always showering to you heart and others who read my
    appeal.i submit my all humility.thanks. neeru with vineet

    Posted by mr.vineet & mrs.neeru | July 27, 2007, 5:53 am
  48. Hi, Neeru–

    I cannot *stand* it that there is still no help for you! This is just wrong. Tomorrow I will look some more, try to find help for you, there has to be someone who will help you, I just have to find the right person, and I haven’t found that person yet. I will keep trying and if anybody reading has any ideas, please post them here! It’s horrible that people go without medicines which could ease their pain, improve their lives, lengthen their lives.

    I won’t stop trying, Neeru and Vineet–


    Posted by womensspace | July 27, 2007, 6:01 am
  49. Respected Heart,how are you,hope so you will be happy with
    healthy.and god grace always showering on you & your loved
    still i waiting….waiting…again and again…………………………..
    why do not people gives help to one needy by
    one noble- kind hearted.its better than any…………………
    because we are wants blessings in the shape of godfather.
    dearest heart what do you think.thanks…neeru & vineet..

    Posted by mr.vineet & mrs.neeru | August 22, 2007, 6:06 am
  50. Be advised that Europe is not much of a dental paradise, especially in these neo-liberal times. In particular, Scandinavia (more so Norway and Denmark, less so Sweden and Finland) probably has the most expensive dentists in the world, even after the subsidies are taking into account. However, there is universal free dental services to the under-18s, and the most generous income support system. There is a growing population of toothless people, usually the ones that cannot manage their money well because of expensive addictions, psychosomatic disorders and inappropriate consumption patterns (debts). There is also a new underclass emerging, those that fall through the safety net of an increasingly strict system, ie locals that cannot accept the micromanagement of their lives by the social services (including obligatory reporting, education and work) and the mobile foreigners that seem to be targeted by the new regulations.

    Things seem to be better in unlikely places such as poor eastern Europe and the anglosaxons, as the level of subsidy and provision is much more democratic, if one can put up with inconveniences such as waiting times and inflexibilities in the system, for example they may be less willing to heed your plea for anesthesia than the private doctors where you pay your weight in gold.

    The dental and the housing situtation in Europe are the two gaping holes of our social systems for now, housing having obviously more gravity. We also seem to be moving towards that other north-american bomb, unaffordable education. Our european “leaders” may have figured we can drive the economy in the future like the US has done in the past, by attracting graduates from the east and the south.

    Posted by Anastasios | October 20, 2007, 6:53 pm
  51. I know how it is…I suffered in poverty after getting hit by an uninsured (and judgment-rpoof) driver back in 1991 when I was only 24 years old. I was left disabled – but not disabled enough to get SSI or SSDI. I was just starting out and only had two years in at a good-paying job. So I didn’t have a lifetime of life savings to draw on, plus I was single so I had no other breadwinner to fall back on when my ability to earn a living was taken from me by the negligence of another.

    I suffered without any access to health and dental care in addition to suffering in poverty from that point forward: throughout my 20’s and 30’s, losing teeth one by one. My teeth began rotting out of my head while I was struggling trying to overcome being disabled in order to graduate college and get my bachelors degree (the whole process took me 10 years becuase of NO family help and no social supports at all other than student loans). Nobody helped, nobody cared.

    In addition to having to suffer without dental care and health care, I suffered without heat in the winter and hot water to bathe as a poor disabled woman with NO income. Welfare wouldn’t help me becuase I didn’t have kids. There was no clinic to treat poor people without incomes.

    The obstacles of poverty and no support or help of any kind is why it took me 10 years to get a 4 year degree. All the while, those “experts” who all had their good jobs and nice lives kept telling me I “have to have a positive attitude” – as if that was going to get me the dental care I needed but couldn’t afford and that no dentist was willing to provide pro bono, or get me a job as a toothless woman approaching middle age with over a decade gap in work history from being disabled.

    Since I was in my mid thirties by the time I finally graduated from college w/ my degree in math/comp sci, nobody would give me a chance for a job. The only job opportunities that were made available to me were commissions-only paying sales jobs with NO benefits and NO base salary, nothing.

    I believe a significant part of my difficulty securing decent employment after getting my degree was because of how I looked missing front teeth. And partly because of the fact that I was a disadvantaged near-middle-aged woman with a very long gap in my work history (had no recent employment references – even temp agencies wouldn’t hire me because of that!); and partly because all the employers could easily get someone alot younger who lacked experience in a new career with the same degree (and who had the nice image of youth and a normal smile).

    The degree that was supposed to be my “ticket out of poverty” and into “normal” America only got me a ticket of admittance to a job market that was nothing more than one big “no pea” shell game.

    What was even worse was how the class-privileged – the middle and upper class people – looked down on me as unworthy of a chance for a good job so I *could* have teeth and have a chance to get on my feet so I could live like a human being. I lost count of how many times some inconsiderate middle class snob said to me, “well if you would have brushed your teeth and taken care of them, you’d have teeth.” Or, my favorite, “Well, just get a job so you can afford to go to the dentist.”

    But how, to be precise, are you supposed to do that if nobody will give you a chance because of how you look missing teeth? Walking around without teeth automatically gets you judged as “trailer trash” or “uneducated” or [insert classist epithet of choice here] so that no matter what, you’re not “worthy” of a chance for a good job so that you can live with a little dignity.

    But they either don’t realize, or don’t care, that missing teeth keeps you from getting hired – even as a receptionist or a low wage Wal-Mart cashier.

    The ones who have never been poor don’t stop to think that it is not always poor personal hygiene that causes tooth loss because they are the ones who can qualify for credit to get care. Or they have the money and insurance to get care so they never had to face potential employers in the “mission impossible” quest of trying to get a job while missing teeth in our image-oriented society.

    Even getting a minimum wage job as a cashier is out of reach for a poor woman with missing teeth. I know because I have been there.

    Posted by Jacqueline | December 7, 2007, 12:12 am
  52. Thanks for posting this. It’s the simplest of problems, and yet we rarely hear these stories.

    There are solutions, however.

    I have had to face a variety of challenges over the last 12 years, and the things I learned from all of this, might be useful to women who haven’t dealt with any of this.

    What I am concerned about is women’s denial of what money means, and how important it is, not only to earn it, but also to have a network of people that can be helped in a crisis.

    I’ve seen political activists who worked for years and years on community projects and in community based organizations at very low pay. When they get burned out, or disabled, the very movements they served had nothing to do with them.

    So here’s the deal. We need a strong feminist netork, so that women can support each other financially.

    With all the millions of dollars being raised for AIDS, we are forgetting the smaller things, like dental work, for example.

    We need to be more entreprenurial in how we see jobs. Someone above mentioned that the only jobs available to her were commissioned sales positions. This particular work in the right industry is one of the highest paid jobs in America, and it also offers work hours that you can completely control.

    1. We can build networks.
    2. We can be much more serious about money as women then is the norm within radical feminist groups, who are routinely contemptuous of upward mobility. Good thing I never listened to this nonsense or I would not have been able to support my partner when the emergency hit, and when the feminists and colleagues completely and utterly abandoned her.

    3. All the women here, just say what you need, and let’s collectively try to do something about this. Some women just need to go to the dentist, some women need $500 of work, some need $1400. Whatever it is, we can figure out how to deal with this.

    I trust Heart to find out what needs to be done, and I’ll certainly contribute– I do this annonymously.

    4. Missing teeth — how to be handle this. If it’s about money, then let’s get to it. If it’s about jobs, let’s put out the word and see where the jobs are for women.

    After 30 years of feminist activism internationally, I am still amazed that we have so much trouble with the basics of loyalty, common sense with money, and awareness of the economic dangers out there for all women.

    There is danger and opportunity.

    5. Then there is sisterhood. What amazed me the most, as I faced the medical crisis of my partner, was how people wouldn’t even call or offer to help in any way. They all ran.
    We can do things like offer compassion, and even write to people who need support.

    6. The more we know about the problems, the more they can be solved.

    7. Stop making fun of or attacking women who have risen economically. For every attack on poor women here, I have also read an equal and awful attack on the mythical “rich yuppies” (an 80s term I haven’t heard in awhile). There is a strong anti-money bias to this blog, and I’ve noticed this. It makes me angry to read this stuff because it sets women up for future poverty. We all need to be as strong as we can be economically, and we all need to support women who will have the businesses, and can hire women.

    8. We can share income strategies through Internet and non-personal contact jobs. I spend a great deal of time on the phone, for example, so people have no idea what I look like, for example.

    Well I’m wandering a bit here, I guess after 30 years, we should have all the radical feminists connected.

    I want to do some big dreaming for the next year, and I need motivation. With the increase in business, I always want to share this wealth. So I’m thinking about other ways to help my sisters and share the things that I’ve learned over the years.

    There were huge departures that I took from radical feminism, because I thought the ideas were not good for women financially. I don’t think we get business yet, and I think some of the business critiques are knee jerk and not well informed.

    When I decided to really expand my business, I found radical feminists the least helpful– constant detractors, envy when I finally was succeeding… the usual nonsense. You get tired of it after awhile. So unless the information will increase my income, I tend to not pay attention to it.

    What is the total dollar amount needed for all the women who have posted here to have their teeth taken care of? Let’s find out what the total is, and let’s all of us try to find ways to get these funds. Let’s focus on women who live in the U.S. first. Or at least the women who have commented here.

    We can’t save the world, but I know for sure that I don’t want a good blogger like Amy and her Brain having to suffer in this way. I don’t want Mary Sunshine worrying about what will happen when she turns 65.

    So let’s put our heads together and think about what we want to do!

    My partner finally found a denist who was homeopathic and could remove all the mercury in her fillings — too long a medical story for here. Needless to say, it was expensive. So this issue is deeply personal for me.

    What are the monetary issues that need attending to? What do we plan to do about it?

    If you are a radical feminist, this does not mean that you should support ideas that don’t advance women economically.
    Since I have never had any connection to a man’s income, and since I was a pioneer in so many ways out there, I guess I thought that I’d better work smarter and not harder to survive and thrive in a lesbian hating heterosexually controlled world.

    I well remember the triumphant day when my partner called the medical plan company. They had just decided to lower premiums for “domestic partners.” The woman on the line was straight, and even she said, “Wow, you too have really had to overpay compared to a straight married couple!” She was shocked to add up the difference – over $3500.00 more!

    I believe this was the very first time a straight woman had ever really seen this! They are usually so out of it when it comes to lesbians (Not people on this blog! out in the world).

    So I am aware of the “lesbian tax” I pay for so many goods and services out there, and I am aware of the number of heterosexuals I am forced to support with my tax money too. It’s something I pay careful attention to, and I try to set up a business plan that will deal with all of this, so that I don’t lose in the end.

    Wandering a bit here… hope we can figure out some solutions.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 7, 2007, 7:28 pm
  53. I have rotten teeth also, I have a family history of soft teeth. My grandmother had dentures, and my dad has dentures by the time he was thrirty. Now here I am in my thrities and I have the same problem. I new dentures for my whole mouth. The problem how am I going to get help for this? Please direct me to some sources. I live in Byron Ga 31008. My number is 478-953-5564. God Bless.

    Gina Taylor

    Posted by Gina Taylor | January 31, 2008, 9:34 pm
  54. It makes me sick that our current heathcare system / health insurance wont include good dental care. You have to pay for it seperately, and then it still doesnt cover enough for the average person to be able to afford it. My husband and I both work, have health insurance now, and still can’t afford good dental care. My experience has been if you don’t have health insurance, you pay out of pocket up front or you dont get care. In some cases depending on the insurance, you still pay quite a bit out of pocket, and they want it NOW, no payment plans! I have been in tears leaving a dentist office because we can’t afford to take care of ourselves properly. Why is dental care seperate from your heathcare? Aren’t teeth an important part of your health? Now, although we have dental insurance (which covers next to nothing) we still cant afford it. My poor husband is loosing his front teeth and is embarrassed by it. My teeth are falling apart in the back, fillings falling out etc. Not to mention it is really painful. When was the last time you saw a politician with bad teeth???? They make sure THEY are taken care of!!! It is really sad that people in the richest country in the world have to go to one of the poorest for healthcare!!!!! Something is wrong with this picture!!

    Posted by pj | February 25, 2008, 5:32 pm
  55. Oh and by the way… I went to a dentist who didnt want to pull my tooth because I couldnt afford the root canal… he and his wife who incidently works for him, have a beautiful large home, two custom motorcycles and a huge sailboat… hmm dont tell me they arent getting rich off of us!

    Posted by pj | February 25, 2008, 5:34 pm
  56. I found this article from someone who posted a link in the “politics” section of a popular internet forum. Needless to say, I read the article + all of the comments and I am truly saddened by the state of affairs in the USA in terms of dental / healthcare in general.

    To me, the problems with health/dental care just echo the absolutely disgusting, heartless and judgmental attitude that many Americans have towards the less fortunate members of our society. The forum where I found this link is filled with hateful, spiteful posts about the poor, blaming them for all of their problems, while spitting out useless buzzwords such as “personal responsibility” and “bad decision making”, as if it were that simple.

    EVERYONE has a right to health care and dental care, in my opinion, regardless of their “net worth”. I have gone through serious dental issues myself, so I know first-hand what it’s like to have pain in that department. Fortunately, I lived in the UK at the time, where even though the majority of dentists are not “socialized” and are private just like here in the USA, they are a LOT cheaper over there and the all the work I had done was no more than $1,000 (compared to some of the insane numbers I’ve seen flying around, such as $15,000!!!).

    Again, it boils down to America’s attitude towards the poor and nothing will improve in the health/dental care dept. until there is a massive change in attitude. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening — many people are far too greedy and self-absorbed to give a rat’s a** about the poor, so they’d rather sit back and blame, blame, blame and go on about how socialized medicine is evil and would make the USA a fully-fledged Communist nation, like the old USSR.

    As for me, my wife and I are moving back to the UK. No, it’s not perfect there, but at least we wouldn’t have to worry about going bankrupt in case either us should just so happen to get sick. Oh, and don’t believe the lies about how horrible the British National Health Service is — for all its faults, I’d take the British system over the (discriminatory) American system 1,000,000,000,000 times over (yeah, that’s how strongly I feel).

    I hope change happens, for the sake of the American people – it’s sad to see what people here have to go through and it shouldn’t happen, in a “rich” nation like this. This is clearly a nation of “haves” and “have nots” – a nation that looks down on its poor and condemns them to a life of chastisement, failure and denies them the health care that they deserve.

    Posted by FedUp | March 17, 2008, 4:13 am
  57. I’m 37 years old, seperated, I have two teenage kids and live in Albany Oregon… we don’t have and can’t afford dental or medical insurance and all need dental work done asap. I have three infected teeth myself and live in constant pain. I wish that the government would do something to help with this growing problem. I am currently unemployed, and can not afford to make my pain go away. I had two teeth pulled last year. I can’t keep getting all of my teeth pulled, or I’ll end up toothless and unable to eat. Not to mention the way people treat you when you are missing teeth is horrible. I don’t want to look bad, noone does. …. I wish there was something we could all do about this!!

    — Claudia

    Posted by Claudia Barclay | May 14, 2008, 7:13 am
  58. Since both candidates have extensive dental coverage paid for by THOSE OF US WITH NO COVERAGE I really doubt that either one is aware of what those of us who work for a living go through or really care. Dentists can cost more than a physician and most are just greedy bastards who are in it solely for the money. How many dentists accept Medicare or Medicaid?? Not many probably about 10% and most dentists have no conception of what a social conscience is. Money, Money, Money–thats what medicine is all about in the US and it needs to change and quickly!

    Posted by j davis | August 22, 2008, 6:52 pm
  59. My teeth are ruining my physical and emotional health. I’m divorced (no kids thank god), and make $8.00 hour. I can’t even afford the basics of life let alone any insurance and co-pays, and unpaid amounts due on work. I’ve lost 3 or 4 jobs because I am in so much pain I can’t eat, sleep or drive- or work. I’ve lived in my car off and on because of losing jobs, getting evicted, and now horrible credit. I am in some kind of pain everyday of the week. I’ve lost 2 jobs this year and have a tooth now that is in really BAD shape and painful- I will lose this job (I am a caregiver for handicapped adults) next time this tooth gets bad. I am at a loss on how to improve my life- it takes lots of $$$$. I have searched the internet and found nothing but a couple of sweepstakes for a free dental makeover. God help me- I am running out of reasons to live.

    Posted by julie | October 3, 2008, 2:26 am
  60. Hi everybody! I was in the same boat as some listed here and struggled to find a solution. If you dig long enough and hard enough, there is a solution.

    After having all kinds of issues with my own teeth, I decided to start a web site to tell my story and help others … this has been about 2yrs ago. Since then, I have researched and documented over 2800 dentist providing free to low cost services. I have the dentists listed in an ebook on my site … please visit my website for more information.

    I have been through lots with my teeth! After reading the recent posts, I sincerely wish everybody the best. Hang in there! If anyone has any questions, I will do my best to answer!:) Feel free to email me at/through my site.

    With the economy is such a slump, more and more people are asking for discounted dental … it’s can be so expensive.

    Posted by Kim | October 16, 2008, 8:48 pm
  61. I feel bad for all people who cannot afford to have their repaired and not pulled. I feel bad for the people who have made it impossible for good people not to be able to get the treatment that would save a tooth. We all have self esteem, every one of us, and pulling a tooth is no way to boost anyones self esteem. I need to get a root canal or have my tooth pulled. I have medicaid, and there is no way I can afford to get a root canal. I feel like I don’t even have an option. I am a single mom of twins who lives penny to penny. I don’t want my tooth pulled. I had my top and bottom jaw totally reconstructed when I was a teenager. After all that pain, months and months of wires and drinking my food, I can’t stand to think what I would look like with a missing tooth. This is just tearing me up. I just don’t get it. I just wish things were different.

    Posted by Kelly | January 19, 2009, 9:21 pm
  62. I, just as everyone else who has posted here, am Beyond disgusted to read about many of these peoples’ experiences (or the unfortunate lack thereof for those of us who *aren’t* bringing in 6 figures a year, gee, thanks “healthcare”! ugh..)

    It is beyond sad and it really makes me sick to think of how many cases there are and have been regarding those of us who find themselves overwhelmed and at a complete loss when it comes to the care, pain relief, HEALTH, and quality of life that they so direly need, yet is just beyond their reach.

    It pains me to think that those who cannot get the help they need, often resort to resigning themselves to feel that they just have to buck down and suffer due to these societal and financial barriers.

    Somethng as simple as dental care being more accessible and affordable would Drastically improve so many lives in soo many.

    Life, for all of us, is a Right..*not* a privilege. So why can’t these things be seen that way more often? If only we knew…

    Posted by Fallingforever | January 27, 2009, 2:39 am
  63. My brother-in-law has very bad teeth and I have been looking for something for him but I have had no luck. He draws a disability check and his wife has been layed off. She hasn’t been able to find a job the way everything is going these days. They have no insurance, no computer, and can bearly pay their bills. I don’t know how many times he has been to the hospital with his teeth and getting I think blood poisoning because of the bad teeth. They will tell him he needs to find a dentist but everyone he talks to needs money up front and they don’t have it. I don’t understand how children can go to the dentist for free with Tenncare until they are 18 years old (I live in Tennessee). What about the adults, does anyone think about them and how their bad teeth can kill them. I will pray for everyone. God bless.

    Posted by concerned sister-in-law | February 8, 2009, 5:04 am
  64. No matter how much I brushed, flossed, and rinsed to care for my teeth, it didn’t work. One by one, they began to disintegrate, chip, and eventually break off at the gumline. I don’t have dental, and worse yet no health insurance what-so-ever. I haven’t had insurance since my mother passed away 15 years ago. I just couldn’t afford it. My children have Medicaid, my husband is disabled and has Medicare. So, here I am stuck with nothing because society and the government have percieved that since I stay home to care for my husband, blind brother, and children that I’m down right lazy and don’t deserve it. Don’t try telling me there are agencies out there that care and can help with my situation – the angencies that are out there haven’t got time for me as I don’t fit their criteria.

    I don’t like begging. It’s beneath me, but that’s what I had to do last year when i had an abcess. I went to bed fine and woke up with half my face swollen horrifically. it was ice packs and what not until i could get to the emergency room located on the other side of town – you see, they closed the local hospital that was nearest because too many patients without insurance were costing the hospital money…

    I sat 15 hours in the emergency room while hysterical divas cried and carried on and were seen to by medical staff, even though I had arrived several hours earlier than they. I call them divas because they were still capable of prancing from place to place in stilleto heels, and texting on their cell phones. I had to sit in a waiting room with a swollen face and a temperature of 103 begging for ice packs and a doctor. I didn’t get seen until the next shift. When the new floor nurse saw me, the site must have alarmed her greatly because it wasn’t 10 to 15 minutes after she saw me that I was being examined. My brother was even treated worse than I. He had glaucoma and didn’t know it. He woke up blind one day, and I rushed him to the hospital. This was the same place where I was treated so ‘graciously’. He was refused treatment because he had insurance from work that covered eyeglasses – eye – glasses – not medical insurance. “If you have insurance, you can be seen by a private doctor. Next please…”

    He’s blind now because he was refused care. He worked all his life, he helped me raise my babies, he paid his taxes and Social Security, and this is what he gets… Yeah there’s something desperately wrong.

    Posted by pigeonholesforever | February 21, 2012, 6:23 pm
  65. I am in your same situation..I have tried all my life to take good care of my teeth to no avail. My daughter has beautiful teeth, because as she grew up I put lots of money into her teeth. I also spent a lot on mine, but it didn’t help. Now that I was forced into retirement and have to live on a monthly check, I can’t afford to get anything done. Well, I did contact a dental college here in Nashville and they charge about a third of what a regular dentist charges. Maybe there is one in your area you can check into..I wish you lots of luck and if you get some help through our gov. I would sure like to hear about it. I even thought about contacting Ophrah Winfrey, she helps lots of people, but didn’t have the nerve to do it…LOL..Good luck and God bless. Linda

    Posted by Linda Wright | February 22, 2012, 12:19 pm
  66. I am at my wit’s end. I have spent money on a root canal and an upper gum surgery. That is all I have. I took 2 bottles of prescription mouthwash and antibiotics for a bone graft I need prior to implants. I cannot afford the bone graft. I have tried winning the money. I have applied for credit. I have offered to work for a dentist in return for this service. I have appealed to the state. MediCal does not cover anyone but children. MediCare covers the elderly. I am 53. No one seems to cover me. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have been looking for trials but to no avail. Even dental schools cost more than I can afford! Health Fairs I go to are never this in depth. Should I just keep pulling teeth or what?

    Posted by Kathy Slenker | April 24, 2012, 1:48 pm
  67. Kathy, I wish I had some suggestions! The way dental health care is handled in this country is ATROCIOUS. I know that Bernie Sanders (D. Vermont) is on this and has had folks like you tell their stories in Congressional hearings, but that doesn’t help anyone who is struggling right now. Honestly, the only thing I can think of for people who really need care (besides getting all their teeth pulled out, which honestly, is what a lot of people are doing because at least it’s remotely affordable 😦 ) is to attempt to get it in Mexico where the cost is far less, as I understand. I know that is not going to be an option for most people because for that, you have to be able to travel to Mexico! The only people in this country (the US) who can get the care they need are the affluent or people who inherit a windfall or something and don’t mind spending it all on dental care. It is over-the-top shameful and I am so sorry. Respect. — Heart ❤

    Posted by Heart | April 25, 2012, 11:51 am
  68. It’s constantly on my mind that I need Dentures that look natural or (preferably) implants. I just called a Dentist office (that employs several dentists) and I was quoted between 40,000 to 60,000 for implants. Why? The screws and the material to make a tooth couldn’t possibly cost nearly that much….. not even close. Don’t people understand that when we have rotten teeth or no teeth at all, it affects our lifes in every way? The depression rate would go down, and people would feel alot better than they do now, therefore would be much more productive, and much more happy. I was a corrections Officer
    for over 20 years and retired because of it. Of all the jobs I’ve applied for (any and all kinds of jobs) and they NEVER call back. Most assume you are an ex-drug user. Mine is because of a hereditery disease I’ve had since I was 14. WHY!!!!!!!!!!?

    Posted by Kasandra Collins | February 20, 2013, 9:08 am
  69. I also was told I would need a bone graft and implants. I went for a second opinion and was told ten crowns would do the trick. This runs about thirteen thousand. Get a second opinion. In the meantime, you can get a snap on smile for about nine hundred:-)

    Posted by Kathy Slenker | March 22, 2013, 3:12 pm


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