"Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

For some people, going to the dentist can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, regular dental treatment keeps teeth healthy. But at the same time, the sights, sounds and smells of a dental office can be unsettling for some. 

But which dentists you can access, and even afford, often depends on where you live.  

"dentist" by Flickr User wonderferret / (CC X 2.0)

With Illinois lawmakers struggling to agree on a state budget, the state Senate unanimously passed a contingency plan to get some money for dentists.

Illinois is literally two years behind in paying health insurance bills for state employees, which affects doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

Dentists may soon find relief, though. Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, is sponsoring legislation that would allow private lenders to effectively buy the debt. The dentists would get paid, and the state would owe the lenders, plus interest.

"Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

With no budget, Illinois has racked up a $12 billion tab in unpaid bills and that number is growing. Among those still waiting for their checks: Dentists.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says the money he’s waiting for is up to $170,000. How far behind is Illinois in paying Lynch?

“We are approximately at November of 2015," Lynch said.

That means a state worker went to see Lynch just after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and Lynch has only recently gotten paid for it.