Dental Care for All Veterans
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Dental health is often times ignored but one of the most important things we need along with medical health. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Dental clinic will not see patients unless they have a one hundred percent disability rating with the VA. However, there are too many Veterans going without dental health care due to the fact they are not able to be seen by the VA Dental Clinic. My goal is to get the State, Congress, and the VA involved to change its policy to see ALL Veterans, not just the ones with a 100% disability rating.
My dental health was considered a Category Level 3 when I returned from Iraq. I had to get a root canal, several cavities filled, and a wisdom tooth removed. Since then, I had okay teeth. It all changed after receiving Methotrexate to treat my Lupus, and radiation treatment for my thyroid. Both treatments slowly deteriorated my teeth to the point where I needed to get partial dentures. I had to use my private insurance and pay out of pocket for treatment. It did not matter if I kept brushing my teeth or flossing because the decay was already taking over. It wouldn't be too long after that I needed to get a full set of dentures because of more decay and teeth breaking. I'm still having to fight to prove that my deterioration is due to medical treatment by the VA, so, I can be seen by the dental clinic. I recently had a consult to be seen at the Houston, VA due to a tooth breaking and was again denied service because I did not have 100% disability rating. I have an 80% disability rating with the VA currently.
I am not one to usually ask for help. What I am asking for is the State and the VA to change its policy on dental health within the VA system so all Veterans can be seen and not have to fight like I am currently just to get treatment. I feel we should not neglect all soldiers just because they do not have the percent rating of 100. The truth of the matter is that I am trying to get treatment in the dental clinic because of treatment that I had previously done within the VA medical center. I am fighting for other Vets who are also needing treatment in the Dental Clinic. I am fighting for change and policy changes within the Department of Veteran Affairs in regards to Dental health care. I feel that the VA needs to take ownership on treatments that were performed within their Medical center that lead me to having dental issues later.
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