Millions of Coloradans lacking dental insurance
New findings may have serious consequences on oral health. More than two million Coloradans lack dental insurance. That’s nearly 40% of the state, but those numbers aren't surprising to the uninsured choosing not to get their teeth checked.
The latest Colorado Health Access Survey says the number of Coloradans without dental insurance is growing. A fourth of the people asked say they didn't get needed dental care because of the cost.
"I try not to smile because I don't want people to see my teeth," Karen Gidcumb said.
It’s hard to tell just by looking at Karen’s smile that she's missing half her teeth. There are just thirteen left.
"It cost hundreds and thousands of dollars to take care of the things you need done with your teeth," Karen said.
When the recession hit hard, Karen lost her job and with it her dental insurance.
She says, "Before that I would go to the dentist regularly, get cleanings, and then due to no insurance I had to let that go."
Karen isn't alone. Our Facebook page lit up when we asked if lack of dental coverage means you see your dentist less than you'd like. Most people we heard from aren't surprised.
Mialyn D’Aponti, with Oral Health Partners, says, "They just opt to hold off until something goes wrong, even people who have insurance."
Oral Health Partners says it happens all the time. They see patients who haven't been to the dentist in ten or fifteen years.
A recent survey says Coloradans are more likely to forego dental care due to cost than any other benefit.
"It’s easier to forgo those finances and keep the medical where you tend to need it a little bit more," D’Aponti said.
One big problem with that, skipping out on regular dental visits can take its toll not just on your oral health, but your overall health.
The survey results also tell us that dental insurance coverage alone doesn't guarantee that people will receive dental care. Only about 75% of those with insurance even visited a dentist last year.
Copyright 2012 KJCT. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The following are comments from our users. Opinions expressed are neither created nor endorsed by KJCT, its web master or its television station management. These comments are moderated by the community. To report an offensive or otherwise inappropriate comment, click the "Flag" link that appears beneath that comment. Comments that are flagged will alert our editorial staff.