Salud Family Health Centers
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Teen's Smiling Again, Thanks to Free Dental Care
by Jesse Richard
I didnít really have a good life when I was younger. We spent most of the time on the road, moving from state to state. The only time I ever went to a dentist was once when I was 10. Otherwise we couldnít pay for a dentist and we didnít have any insurance. I never really had much time to brush my teeth.
Then three years ago, me and my mom were living in Camp Verde, Ariz. We ran into some troubles, and she sent me up here to live with my stepfather, in Mead, just outside Longmont.
My teeth were in pretty bad shape, but I guess I had kind of gotten used to the pain. But my stepsister told me about Salud Family Health Center in Longmont. She said they could help me and it wouldnít cost me anything.
So I went and got an appointment. That was two years ago. Since then, Iíve had quite a few cavities filled, a couple of teeth pulled and some root canals done. Iíd estimate theyíve done about $3,000 worth of dental work on my mouth, but it hasnít cost me anything. And itís really helped. I donít have any more cavities now, and I have lots better brushing habits. I actually floss my teeth now.
They always treat me with respect. The people there are really nice, and after Iíd only been there a couple of times, it seemed like everyone there knew my name and talked to me when I went in. It only hurt when the numbing shot I had wore off. But that only happened once or twice.
Iíve still got some more dental work to be done. I have to go see a specialist because the roots on one of my teeth are at a weird angle, so they canít do a root canal on it at the clinic. Iím going to go to a place that takes Medicaid patients.
In the meantime, my teeth look a whole lot better now. And thatís helped me with my self confidence, knowing I donít have gigantic holes in the front of my teeth.
Iím 18 now. Last year, I went to Skyline High School, but now Iíve transferred over to the Adult Education program. I plan on studying automotive, then finding a nice place in a small town and becoming a mechanic. And I donít plan on getting into any boxing matches. Iím going to take care of my teeth.
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