A couple of years ago, Sarah Varney of KQED asked CJR how journalists can keep the dental story alive after reporting the obvious point—that people need treatment. Thompson’s story offers a new angle.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.