"Your mouth becomes a minefield"

“I cried on the way home. I gave thought to not having the root removed because of the money. I tried and the remaining tooth was so sharp my tongue bled,” added Hopkins. “I will need to get another tooth out on my partial implant because this tooth is what I bite with and now I have to tear little bites of sandwiches and put it in my mouth because I can’t bite. I may have to live like that if I can’t save up the money to add the tooth to the partial.” Advocates for expanding dental healthcare coverage are pushing Joe Biden and members of Congress to include expansion plans in upcoming coronavirus or healthcare relief bills. The calls to action come as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the racial and economic inequities among those who are able to access dental healthcare. Millions of Americans have lost dental insurance or faced economic impacts related to the pandemic, causing greater delays or avoidance of care owing to high costs. “Dental care is the No 1 medical service that Americans skip because of cost,” said Melissa Burroughs, the associate director for the Oral Health Campaign at the non-profit consumer health advocacy organization Families USA.