HEALTH -- November 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM ET
At Tipping Point of Dental Pain, Mother Makes a Tough Choice
A "quick trip" to the dentist usually means a one-hour flight across southern Alaska for Eva Malvich. But that pales in comparison to the other sacrifices she's made to get some relief from the pounding pain in her mouth.
Several weeks ago, the 42-year-old mother of three also quit her job of 19 years and cashed out her retirement savings to be able to afford the full-scale dental overhaul necessary to reverse her lifelong struggle with tooth decay.
"I feel so selfish to be doing this but I have a lot of pain," she said. "I have a $19,000 bill and so I have to face that. I mean, it is part of reality out here."
A reality fueled by an acute dental crisis that's gripping much of the lower 48, too.
This week on the NewsHour broadcast, Health Correspondent Betty Ann Bowser explores what's behind America's growing dental crisis. On Wednesday evening, she travels to the remote towns and villages of Alaska to find out why Eva Malvich and her neighbors are in so much pain -- and look at a controversial program that some say could help.