I live in Old Town, am disabled and unable to get dental insurance on my limited income. I have diabetes, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a child, I had insurance that included dental until 1985, when my mother divorced. While my mother tried to get my sister and I to dental cleanings, but she could not afford it. As an adult, I have never had a dental cleaning because I cannot afford one. I have never had preventative work done on my teeth. It has been over 25 years since I have had a dental cleaning.

Since 2002, I have lost 11 teeth due to cavities, gingivitis, and a mixture of soft crowns. I have had to either have them pulled or have pulled them myself. At this point, the teeth in my mouth all need to be pulled out. Even with having Medicare part A, B and D, and supplemental Maine Care, I cannot afford dental care, even using sliding scale. Had I had access in my 20s, I would have had a better outcome. I would have been able to save my teeth.

My dental story is one that should not be happening in 2019. Adults shouldn’t have to go through the pain and suffering of having their teeth slowly degrade. I can only eat soft foods. I have diabetes and bipolar disorder. Infections raise my blood glucose levels, and when I have a dental infection, I struggle with horrible cycling of moods due to the pain.

Low-income citizens of Maine need dental care. L.D. 1453, now before the Legislature, will give low-income Maine residents the ability to avoid the experience of pain I currently have from broken teeth, unfilled cavities, gingivitis, and infections. Dental access is about more than just your mouth.

 

Tifani Pedro

Old Town


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