Monday, January 07, 2008

Scarcity of dental care for children a community shame

Scarcity of dental care for children a community shame:

"Almost all low-income children in our community are enrolled in medical and dental insurance, but only a fraction of them are able to find a dentist willing to accept their insurance. Consequently, many low-income children in our community do not have a dental home. Low reimbursement rates from public insurance preclude many children from ever seeing a dentist to prevent the escalation of dental problems."

"An estimated 3,000 children in our community suffer from tooth decay so severe that they require anesthesia to receive dental treatment. These children must now undergo traumatic surgical procedures for oral health disease that could have been easily avoided through preventative dentistry.

I find it shameful that the situation has deteriorated to this point. Medi-Cal covers hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for children to receive oral surgical care, but only pays private-practice dentists a few dollars to clean a child’s teeth once a year. Many low-income families have no choice but to wait until simple dental problems escalate before finding relief for their children."