Monday, August 23, 2004

Joplin Independent%3A Forum:

Do Dentists Really Care About the Poor

"Isn't it curious that local dentists care so much about the teeth of the poor that they want the taxpayers to fund fluoride in the water supply; yet NONE of them will accept ANY Medicaid patients. Do they think flouride will take the place of checkups, cleaning and fillings for low income families.

We have checked around, trying to help a friend, including a call to the local dental referral service, and found only one area dentist who takes a very limited number of medicaid patients; and he is in Anderson. To get in at his office you have to call very early on the one day a month he makes medicaid appointments. The referral service suggests you go to a dental college for free care. Not an easy thing for a poor person to drive to Kansas City..."

"I think if our dentists want to help promote dental health they should begin a program of free toothpaste and brushes to all low-income families. Then they should volunteer their time to set up a free dental clinic about once every six months and also offer free check-ups through area schools. And then, of course, they should start accepting medicaid patients, since the taxpayers are already funding that program. "