Saturday, October 16, 2010

Free Dental

Today Matt and I spent about 7 hours waiting around for free dental care. The New Mexico Mission of Mercy had a massive clinic set up yesterday and today. The plan was to go yesterday, but we didn't get out of the house early enough, so we went today.

I need my wisdom teeth taken out pretty badly, it probably should have been done while I was in college. I had the opportunity today to get them out for free, but because I need all four removed and some are still just barely coming in, it would have been a pretty major operation that would have potentially put me out of commission for four days. Plus, it was getting late on in the afternoon, and I don't know if they would have gotten to me anyway. I have to teach Monday (all day) and Tuesday I have a statistics exam. Being drugged up and in pain wasn't really an option. Had I gone yesterday, I probably would have done it.

This is the first time the clinic has been in Albuquerque. It was amazing, they were prepared to do pretty much anything, free of charge. They had an army of dental hygienists and oral surgeons who were volunteering their time and energy. There were even those machines that can do a 360 degree x-ray of your head. This is a huge deal in this city: so many people are homeless, unemployed, or underemployed, and just don't have the means for general dental care. That can be potentially life threatening.

It's disappointing that I waited so long today and missed out on an opportunity to save some major bucks with my wisdom teeth. However, I now know that I don't have any cavities, my gums are healthy, and I got a thorough cleaning. So even though I really REALLY need my wisdom teeth out, I know they aren't rotting out in my skull, and I'm doing a fair job of keeping them clean. I don't have dental insurance yet, the plan that I could have gotten through the university is really rather pathetic and totally inadequate for any major procedures: it had a maximum coverage of $500 per claim. I was told this clinic was coming up, and I have discount options at the UNM dental clinic on campus, so forking over a lot of money for a mediocre plan wasn't worth it.
Now that I know my mouth is healthy in general, I can plan for getting my teeth yanked in the, hopefully, near future. Maybe I'll set up a health savings account. Also, the clinic will be in Los Lunas next year. That's further away, about 4 hours, but if I can go there early next year and get my procedure done, it'll be worth it.


  1. Will next year's clinic be in Los Lunes (about 30mins away) or Las Cruces (3+ hours away). If it is in Los Lunes, then you don't have to go as far!!

  2. Mouse, Matt has indicated to me that it is in Las Cruces. I got the two towns confused.