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Nothing is more overwhelming than the death of a child. My heartfelt sympathy to you...and my prayers.
My hope was/is to see meaningful changes in the healthcare system under Obama that would elevate dental care; it is hugely important to overall health...as is vision care. Meanwhile, there are public clinics in some areas for low or no cost dental care. Also, dental schools offer low cost dental care. Call your local Alliance on Ageing or similar organization for information on services--churches often have information on these services as well. Let us know what you find out.
You are absolutely correct when you say that dental care is vital for overall health. I never realized this until recently when I discovered that bad teeth and gums can lead to serious health problems. Periodontal disease, especially, can lead to gum tissue recession and subsequent loosening of the teeth. Not only that, but the poison from infected gums can get into the blood stream and cause problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, it is essential that dental care be considered a medical necessity. Why it was never covered by Medicare is a mystery to me. Preventive dental care can keep us healthier in the long run, but since it can be very costly, most folks put it off, thinking of it as a minor consideration. Perhaps that's the Medicare mindset also. Dental clinics and dental college clinics can help save money, but there are long waits to see a dental student who works under the supervision of a licensed dentist, the work is satisfactory, but takes much longer. I'm fortunate to have dentist who will accept monthly payments, but not all practitioners are willing to do this. And when one is on a tight budget, even monthly payments are not an option.