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I Need To See A Dentist, But Can't Afford It!

By Dayna H., Duval County

The last time I saw a dentist was in the 1970’s and it was a horrible experience. I went to a free clinic to have my wisdom teeth pulled, and the dentist left a piece of a tooth inside my gums. It was such a bad experience that I didn’t want to go back to have them fix it. Instead, I just kept playing with the chipped part of my tooth until it came out. I’ve been terrified to go back to the dentist since then. At the same time, I know that I need to get some dental care. I only have two teeth left in my mouth, and they need root canals. I really need to get some dentures, too. Everyone I talk to says it’s very expensive, and I don’t have the money for it. I don’t have dental insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. I live on a fixed income. I’m lucky to have $60 left in my pocket after I pay all of my bills. There aren’t any free dental clinics around Jacksonville anymore.

I’m lucky that I don’t have any chronic health problems either, because I don’t have health insurance. When I was little, I was hit by a car which left me partially paralyzed. The doctor told my Grandma that my condition would get worse as I got older. I’m finding out now how true that is. I used to have Medicaid but lost it a few years ago when my husband passed away. I had so many things I had to do at the time that I think I missed my Medicaid recertification appointment. It was just too much going on at one time. We were married for 42 years, and all of this is new to me. Now with COVID, things are getting harder and harder. I have applied for disability, but COVID has slowed down that process.

I’ve never been sick in all my life, but the older I get, the more things happen with my health. I broke my arm a while back and went to the out-patient clinic near my house. They treated me, even though I don’t have health insurance. I owe them money now.

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