UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Column: My Aching Tooth

Now that I have your attention drawn to my goofy smile (see corny picture to the left of this article), let me explain why anybody here on our campus should care about my teeth.

The reason is this: my tooth doesn’t represent just represent a part of the crooked smile that is me, but it is a representative of the American health care system. It’s not just a mere item in my mouth that makes eating food or drinking something painful as hell. No, it’s every American who’s had something go wrong with their body, and not been able to fix it.

A year ago I had to have a root canal and believe me it was just lovely. It hurt a little but it put me out of the misery of having a fractured tooth. Well, like I said, that was a year ago, and seeing as they only put in a temporary cap on it, I needed a crown. Well my dental insurance ran out in April, and as it passed I felt fine. I mean, the temporary cap felt fine. But that didn’t last long ’cause now the temporary cap is gone as well as my insurance. The price tag on the aforementioned crown is well over a grand.

So what do I do? Well, what I’ve done so far is sucked it up and not chewed on that side of my mouth. On Friday, I’ll be going to Tufts Dental School to be the subject of an experiment for some kid in dental school. Believe me, I should be the final exam.

What it comes down to is this: I, like many Americans, have something wrong with me and can’t afford to correct it. My problem isn’t anything life threatening, and my example is only to prove a point.

If you don’t have insurance, you’re done for. You can’t get sick, because you can’t afford a doctor or prescriptions. I know that they can’t give these things away; socialism isn’t what I’m asking for. But if you get cancer, your family shouldn’t have to pay $300 bucks a week for medicine. That’s ridiculous.

I don’t understand why things cost so much and why we can’t at least help absorb some of the cost. We spend billions of dollars in foreign aid, ethanol production, and political conventions, but we can’t give a little relief to people who get sick.

But don’t let my negativity get you all down in the dumps because there is good news: hospitals can’t deny the most serious cases. But what about the people like me? My tooth hurts, damn it, and till I go to Tufts’ den of torture there’s nothing I can do about it. The bottom line is that nobody cares my tooth hurts, and nobody cares families are going broke trying to keep loved ones from dying. But, you know what? It’s okay. $87 billion will go towards rebuilding Iraq, and I don’t have $1,000 to rebuild my damn tooth.