Pandemic exacerbates dental access issues in the US as uninsured struggle to afford treatment

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The pandemic has exacerbated dental access issues in the US, with more and more people struggling to afford treatment.

Maureen Haley is one of millions of Americans who don’t have dental insurance. Maureen, who is 66, lives in a campervan near Greensboro in North Carolina. Having lost her home in Florida during the recession in 2008, Maureen is now reliant on Medicare for medical treatment but she has no means of covering the cost of dental care.

Maureen struggles with severe dental issues but she has no money to pay for the root canal procedures or implants she needs. When Maureen last visited a dentist three years ago, she was advised that the cost of treatment would be over $8,500 and she fears that her dental health has deteriorated since. Research suggests that around 75 million Americans don’t have dental insurance, with approximately 6 million adults losing dental benefits during the pandemic.

The cost of dental care is one of the most significant barriers to treatment in the US. Millions of people are unable to afford insurance and they have no means of paying for dental treatment. Costs are also significantly higher than in other countries. The average cost of root canal treatment in the US is estimated at $750-$900 (approximately £540-£650).

Loxi Hopkins is another patient struggling with extreme dental pain with no hope of affording treatment. The Medicare package the 68-year-old has doesn’t cover dental care and she needs several thousand dollars’ worth of treatment. She has already lost many of her natural teeth and said that it is upsetting to retire having spent decades working only to be unable to afford to undergo the treatment that would put a stop to pain and improve her quality of life.

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