In Britain, a 20-year-old woman nearly killed in a bicycle accident is now fighting for her smile. She was hit by a car, suffering a broken pelvis, broken jaw, two dislocated knees, and a broken wrist. The British National Health Service (NHS) immediately went into action, giving her pelvic surgery, jaw surgery, knee surgery, and wrist surgery. However, it stopped short of giving her full recovery. The young woman had also lost six of her teeth in the accident, which the NHS said it would not cover dental implants because this was considered a cosmetic procedure, not an acute care situation.
The outraged woman has complained and sought relief from the problem that now faces her: a smile with six visibly missing teeth.
Pay Now, or Wait
This is not to say that the NHS has completely refused compensation for her dental implants. Instead, in the words of a spokesman, “there is a waiting list for these appointments but we can assure [her] that the wheels are in motion and that she has not been abandoned by the NHS.” However, the prospect of waiting to have her smile fixed is noticeably troubling to the young woman.
The NHS has also said that it will create a partial denture for the young woman, but she has refused this solution, saying, “I don’t want to be keeping my teeth in a glass next to the sink when I’m only 20.”
If she wants to get treatment today, she can still seek out treatment at a private clinic, at an estimated cost of about $20,000, which she cannot afford. A private care dentist has offered to perform the treatment for free, although she would still have to pay for materials.
A Common Double Standard
What is remarkable about this story is the double standard applied to healthcare, separating general health from oral health, a distinction that is common to care in the US as well. The NHS delivers superb, speedy, and free care for many injuries, but when it comes to dental injury, people get little or no help.
Although we don’t have socialized medicine here in the US, we do have a similar division of care. Medicare includes benefits for many types of healthcare, but not for dental care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has subsidies for health insurance, but not for dental insurance. Medicaid covers many types of care, but it doesn’t cover preventive dental care.
This is because many consider your oral health to be somehow not vital or nonessential to your health.
If Your Teeth Have Been Damaged
If you have lost a tooth or teeth in a car accident, you know that your smile is not nonessential. You know that your teeth are a vital part of your general health, especially your mental health and feelings of self-confidence.
If you have been hurt in a car accident and have suffered damage to your smile, we may be able to help. Please contact Dental Excellence of Blue Bell in Philadelphia today for an appointment.