Our See: Stories from Mainers present why dental care is necessary for health

A girl in Levant misplaced all her teeth and concerns her damaged dentures will tumble out at function. Now she sees her faculty-age daughter starting off to go by means of the identical matters.

A single patient of a Bangor doctor struggles with tooth bacterial infections whilst expecting, raising the chance of pre- and publish-natal problems a further has dropped enamel, protecting against her from pursuing a food plan that keeps her diabetes in look at.

An Auburn mother of two has broken and lacking teeth that leave her in consistent suffering and make worse her other health difficulties.

You simply cannot listen to these tales, all offered as testimony right before the Legislature, and not see that dental treatment is as important as medical care — that dental care is medical treatment. Nevertheless Maine is a single of 14 states whose Medicaid plan does not handle it that way.

Immediately after two decades of effort and hard work, that looks most likely to adjust this legislative session — and for excellent rationale. There are no lack of stories from Mainers dwelling without the need of dental insurance plan who have viewed helplessly as small issues turned into big types for absence of treatment, main to frequent ache, bacterial infections and pulled enamel. They are left prone to various long-term problems and ashamed by their look. The physical and psychological toll is monumental.

Not only does lousy oral health make one’s existence miserable, it also comes at a great value to the rest of us, not only from the inevitable emergency room go to — Maine’s Medicaid application does include some treatments, like extractions, but only at the time matters get truly negative — but from the reduction of productive community customers.

For the mom in Auburn, the absence of obtain to care has made her hesitant to take part in her community and in the workforce in the ways she would like to. “I could be performing so significantly a lot more if I wasn’t battling so considerably with my physical health, mental health and primarily my dental health,” she instructed a legislative committee last thirty day period.

It is simply absurd to take care of oral care any differently than we address care for the relaxation of the system. MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid software, doesn’t deny a affected person blood force treatment and tell them to arrive again when they’ve had a stroke.

And it should not do the similar with dental care, waiting around until finally discomfort, an infection and the reduction of teeth have wreaked havoc on someone’s health, self-esteem and prospective clients in the workforce to do something at all.

As the female from Levant advised lawmakers, all that hold off does is make it far more difficult for an individual to get out of the situation that led to the troubles in the very first area.

“The cycle of poverty is a central reason why dental is so inaccessible,” she explained. “My daughter will be blocked from receiving ahead since our health care method does not see dental health as section of our over-all health.”


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