The Problem with Dental Care in America
Dear future President,
Did you know that according to the CDC one in four Americans over sixty-five have lost their teeth. Did you know that tooth decay is the most common childhood disease nationwide not to mention, that it’s five times more common than asthma. More than one million Americans don’t go to the dentist because they can’t afford it. Instead, they end up in the emergency room, with serious toothaches and diseases that the doctors are not equipped to treat. While, a government service named Medicaid is supposed to cover dental, it’s flawed system. Medicaid is a system that varies state to state, and in places like Florida only ten percent of dentists accept Medicaid patients. In an attempt to help people, private dental chains have opened up. For example a dental chain called Kool Smiles has opened up to treat children on Medicaid. However there’s been many controversies and investigations. In an article titled “Dollars and Dentists”(Which you can find at pbs.org) Kool Smiles had been related to another private dental chain called Small Smiles in 2012. By 2013 Small Smiles was no longer allowed to serve patients on Medicaid due to preforming unnecessary treatments on children.
In Florida “Doctors and Dentists” followed five- year old Trinity Way when she went to the emergency room because her teeth were infected so badly that her cheek was warm to the touch. Trinity was under Medicaid however even after he grandmother had contacted ten different dentists no one would see her. The reason for this is that Medicaid varies state to state. This is such a problem for states like Florida because only twenty five percent of children on Medicaid are actually able to get dental care. This is just one example of how the system affects people in the United States.
Even right here in Maryland, I have no choice but to watch as my mother gets serious tooth infections. Most of my mother’s teeth have broken off leaving her in constant pain; We don’t have the money to afford expensive dentures or to get the rest of her teeth pulled. It’s all too expensive and our insurance, Amerigroup only really covers a routine check up. I can’t remember how many times we’ve had to go to the emergency room to get my mom antibiotics to dull the pain. It has gotten so bad that she hardly gets enough food and has dropped about 50 pounds due to malnutrition this year. Watching my mother be in pain is a sad reality that as of right now, we can’t do anything about. With your help, future President I hope to change this sad reality, not only for me, but for all adults and their children in America.