Time To Do 1 Thing! Like Maybe Call The Dentist

Do 1 Thing! Like Maybe, Gulp, The Dentist

Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing

Finding Nemo

My 1 thing is to take Babygirl to the pediatric dentist for a check up, her second ever. The pediatric dentist, at least the one we go to, near Babygirl’s pre-school in Park Slope, is the most elaborately decked out play space of an office you’ve ever encountered. It’s almost obscene. There are flatscreen TVs everywhere playing cartoons, and stuffed animals, and toys. The hygienists are as peppy as camp counselors.

Once that’s over and I can drop my hopefully calm child off at school and start my work day, my 1 Thing: Part 2 is to consider, really ponder, whether I should schedule a visit to the dentist myself. It’s been over a year since I got a check up myself. In fact, it’s been over two years, easily. Ever since I left regular, full-time employment, I haven’t had dental insurance, and the idea of paying out of pocket for a cleaning is almost as scary as the idea that there could be something wrong with my teeth that needs to be attended to. My solution has been to floss daily and hope for the best.

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, I’m hardly alone: although about 2/3 of Americans had coverage in 2014, whether from their employers or from Medicaid, the other 1/3 of our great nation lives in fear: “Some 114 million Americans have no dental coverage with 67.7 million under 65 years of age. This is about twice the number of medically uninsured that are under 65 years of age.”

US News advises people like me not to wait until things go wrong:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 27 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 to 44 have untreated cavities. Minor cavities can turn into major problems, and what would have required a filling can eventually require a root canal or extraction. Young says regular exams can uncover small problems before they grow in both size and cost. … “The American Cancer Society estimates 39,500 people in the U.S. will get mouth or oropharyngeal cancer in 2015, and an estimated 7,500 will die of these cancers,” Atkins says. “Early detection and treatment are key to survival.”

New York City is, not surprisingly, “the country’s most expensive metropolitan area,” and cleanings here can cost a prohibitive $500, almost twice the US median price. I guess I can always try a dental school. Or maybe ask nicely, once Babygirl is done in the big purple chair, if I can hop up real quick and get looked at while I watch an episode of “Dora The Explorer.”

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