Declining state dental benefits create issues of access, cost

Posted on January 9, 2013

Patsy Brown dreams of apples, when the roots in her swollen gums relent her to slumber.

She thinks of how the skin breaks effortlessly when she puts her teeth to the fruit; of the crunchy burst of sweet and sour; the serrated mark of her first bite.

“I used to eat an apple every day,” the 49-year-old Yakima resident said.

Brown, a Medicaid recipient diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenic and who is unable to work, began losing her teeth a few years ago. All but five are broken off at the roots; only three of them remain whole.

Their swelling causes sharp pain, makes it difficult to eat, and sometimes renders her unable to move.

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