I came to America when I was 3 years old, and throughout my adolescence my mother went out of her way to make sure I never had to think about dental care. She put so much time, effort, and work into making sure I received that care.
Once I hit 21, I went to the dentist on my own and was told I couldn’t go there anymore. It felt like I was hit by a truck — I was unaware of how much I’d taken for granted access to the dentist throughout my childhood.
Then, it dawned on me that I would have to choose between paying for bare necessities and the health of my teeth. As a student, this meant choosing between paying for school or paying for the dentist.
Like so many others, it means that whenever I get tooth pain, I don’t go to the dentist. It means powering through that pain — even when it affects my overall health, or how I perform my work.
Adversity like this has been the norm for adults on MaineCare for so long, even though so many of us agree that dental care is a must for everyone, and that health care is a human right.
Because of the pandemic, community health has been in the spotlight this year. I think working together to improve Maine’s health means prioritizing our longtime unmet health needs. This is the year for us to add an adult dental benefit to MaineCare.
Amran Osman, Lewiston