Girl Has Dentures at 37 After Many Jobs With out Dental Insurance coverage

Girl Has Dentures at 37 After Many Jobs With out Dental Insurance coverage

Years with out dental insurance coverage took a horrible toll on greater than Katelyn Bowden’s enamel.

Her worsening oral well being affected all features of her life — her psychological well being, relationships, job prospects and total well-being. Small issues like cavities turned massive issues that required visits to the emergency room.

So when Bowden lastly had entry to dental insurance coverage and acquired correct dental care, she was proud to be completed with remedy in January and proclaimed on social media: “I’m a 37 12 months previous with dentures.”

Girl Has Dentures at 37 After Many Jobs With out Dental Insurance coverage
Since getting her dentures, Katelyn Bowden is now not afraid to smile in public. “Nobody needs to be scared to smile,” she says.Courtesy Katelyn Bowden

Her tweet has acquired tens of 1000’s of likes and lots of of feedback from individuals additionally fighting unhealthy enamel.

“It was one thing that I’ve been going via for years and wishing that extra individuals talked about it as a result of it actually felt alone to be that self-conscious about smiling,” Bowden, an artist who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, tells

“I’d see the adjustments in individuals’s faces. As soon as they realized that I had unhealthy enamel, their perspective and their opinion of me modified drastically.”

Bowden has none of her pure enamel left. She wears full dentures on the highest and backside jaw.

‘Enamel shouldn’t be wealthy individuals bones’

Earlier than she had the work achieved and other people noticed her lacking enamel, some assumed Bowden did medicine, however she says she has by no means even tried medicine that might trigger tooth issues. She explains she was simply “grime poor” for many of her grownup life.

Bowden was lined by dental insurance coverage as a baby and had a pleasant smile for some time. However issues “went downhill very, in a short time” when she turned 18, she recollects.

As a highschool graduate, she labored in service trade jobs resembling bartending. None provided dental insurance coverage. She couldn’t afford to get common dental checkups and fillings for cavities.

When her husband-to-be, TC Johnson, proposed, Bowden wore an ill-fitting “flipper” for this photo — fake teeth worn like a mouth guard to cover up her bad teeth.
When her husband-to-be, TC Johnson, proposed, Bowden wore an ill-fitting “flipper” for this photograph — faux enamel worn like a mouth guard to cowl up her unhealthy enamel.Courtesy Katelyn Bowden

One-third of U.S. adults don’t have dental advantages protection, based on the American Dental Affiliation. 1 / 4 of U.S. adults have untreated tooth decay, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention notes.

Medicaid covers dental care for kids, however adults could solely be lined for emergency dental providers relying on the state.

Enamel shouldn’t be “wealthy individuals bones,” and dental care needs to be accessible and inexpensive to everybody, Bowden says.

“I didn’t have Medicaid till after I had my youngsters. So by the point any dentist was in a position to look into my mouth, they stated, ‘Effectively, there’s an excessive amount of work. So we’re simply going to drag those which are problematic,’” Bowden recollects.

When cavities in her enamel acquired deeper, they precipitated abscesses in her face that required emergency room visits. One abscess was so extreme that it swelled her eyes shut. Bowden couldn’t chew with out ache and had toothaches for months on finish.

A person she dated broke up together with her and informed her it was as a result of he didn’t need to be seen with somebody with unhealthy enamel. She developed nervousness about her look, and skilled disgrace and isolation. She felt her job choices had been changing into extra restricted.

“It was depressing,” Bowden says. “Add to that the psychological well being toll that it takes on you, the place you’re afraid to smile, the place persons are judging you… there may be quite a lot of stigma that comes with having unhealthy enamel.”

Dentures have been ‘life-changing’

Every little thing modified when she met her husband, TC Johnson, via Twitter. She informed him about her enamel throughout their first cellphone name and he was not bothered.

He later labored his good dental insurance coverage into his marriage proposal noting Bowden may lastly get good dental care.

Bowden gets fitted for dentures.
Bowden will get fitted for dentures.Courtesy Katelyn Bowden

Bowden started going to her husband’s dentist in 2020. Her higher dentures had been in place inside a 12 months. Her decrease dentures required three implants in her jaw to assist them, so that they took longer.

Now that all the things is in place, Bowden is having fun with meals she as soon as couldn’t eat due to her painful and lacking enamel.

“It’s been a life-changing occasion,” she says. “I acquired to eat steak up to now month and it’s incredible. It felt actually good to lastly have the ability to chew quite a lot of meals that I’ve been lacking. I’ve gained weight, which is nice, I wanted to.”

Dr. Terri Alani, a dentist in Houston, Texas, who shouldn’t be treating Bowden, says she has by no means seen any sufferers of their 30s want full dentures in her 40 years of observe.

All of the preventative care put in place during the last a long time — together with fluoride, sealants and affected person schooling — means Alani sees much less decay and fewer complete procedures wanted on younger sufferers.

“Most people I see which are in want of dire dental work are in all probability of their 50s,” Alani tells

“(However) these days, due to all of the preventive measures, I’ve sufferers of their 90s who’ve all their enamel.”

"Dental health is a huge part of our overall health and it should not only be available to rich people," Bowden says.
“Dental well being is a large a part of our total well being and it mustn’t solely be out there to wealthy individuals,” Bowden says.Courtesy Katelyn Bowden

Dentists and periodontists attempt to hold a affected person’s pure enamel in place each time doable, however there comes a degree once they’re not salvageable — if the bone loss within the mouth is an excessive amount of, the enamel are very cellular, there’s quite a lot of decay current or there are medical points, Alani says.

In these instances, full dentures could also be wanted. Implant supported dentures that don’t require the palate to be lined are a well-liked possibility now, she notes. However to keep away from attending to that stage, Alani urges individuals to maintain up with common checkups and cleanings as a lot as doable to forestall main issues.

Bowden says that after the posted her tweet, some individuals informed her she impressed them to make an appointment with a dentist.

“That made me really feel actually good,” she says.