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In Communities Hard Hit By The COVID-19 Recession, A Dental Emergency Can Hurt Especially Bad -- In The Wallet

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(Photo illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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With coronavirus raging through Southeast Los Angeles, the last place I wanted to be this week was in a dental chair in a Cudahy strip mall, with my mouth uncovered and wide open.

But that's where I was Tuesday. It couldn't be helped. I was in agony the entire weekend with a bad toothache so when Monday rolled around, I knew I needed medical attention. My dental adventure led me to three different dentists in two days and cost me close to $2,000 -- even after I found my dental insurance card.

The experience also led me down a rabbit hole into our dental health system, where I discovered that Black and Latino people are more likely to have dental health issues primarily due to a lack of information and access to preventive oral care.

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