Today I had a patient who just returned from a 2-year military stay in Iraq (“this time it wasn’t my choice to go over there”, he told me). He presented with severe decay and advanced periodontal disease. He was so frustrated with the quality of dental care in the military, and it made me upset to hear it. He still paid his insurance premiums every month, only to receive the absolute bare minimum of care. He got no regular cleanings, and if decay was spotted on a tooth, even if it was a small and easy to restore spot, teeth were just extracted there. He did not want to lose teeth so he refused to have them deal with the decay. So he is now dealing with some major restorative work that could’ve easily been prevented.
I know we talked about healthcare in a previous post. But this outrages me, and it’s frustrating that, in all aspects of healthcare for military personell, this case is not surprising. Not only is there a nationwide healthcare provision deficit, but the lack of healthcare provided for our military-in and of active duty-is simply atrocious. Injured vets are paying out of pocket and/or yet to recieve care for benefits promised to them from the army? When all the troops come home (I should say “if” the troops come home), this problem will only magnify tenfold and increase mistrust in our government (trust and government no longer go hand in hand). I’m not an apple pie and Ford kind of American, but doesn’t this just seem unpatriotic?