When I first went to Howard Dental Center in 1994, I was in rough shape and hurting for dental care. I was sick, grappling with mental health issues, and had a bad drinking habit. After my first cleaning, they gave me some literature on how to take care of myself and my teeth. A compromised immune system has many associated medical and dental problems, and I learned that taking good care of my teeth is super important for my general health. Within a few months, my dental health had improved dramatically.
I underwent chemotherapy in the early 2000’s after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. While I can’t say this for certain, I believe it was the chemotherapy and the many medications I’ve taken over years that left me with brittle bone disease. The deterioration of the bones in my lower jaw makes it particularly important that I keep the rest of my mouth in good shape.
Because health care and dental care have been so transformative in my life, I’ve become an activist for the cause. I’ve used my Medicaid dental benefits in more ways than I can count: cleanings, fillings, x-rays, root canals—you name it. Without Medicaid, I never would have been able to afford all this care, and it is so key to keeping me healthy. I know for a fact that my story isn’t unique. There are countless people hurting out there who rely on Medicaid’s dental benefit to get the care they need. I simply can’t imagine what my life would be without Medicaid.
– Otto Trujillo, Denver
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