Patients in Pain, Dentists in Distress: In a Pandemic, the Problem with Teeth

The pain was going to be worth it. Easter Brown opened her mouth as wide as she could as a dentist yanked out the seven teeth she had left. At 77 years old, she was finally going to get a full set of dentures. She went home toothless that day in February and waited for the call saying her new smile had arrived.

But when her phone rang in March, Brown was told that her dental clinic in the District was almost completely shutting down. The risk of dentists and patients spreading the novel coronavirus was just too high. They promised Brown would get her dentures when the clinic reopened. They just weren’t sure when that would be.

Ever since, Brown — already at a higher risk because of age and asthma, already enduring a newly isolated life — has been talking and chewing with only her gums.

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