Clinic’s shortage of dentists leads to restrictions in care - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register
The state of Illinois has been fluoridated for decades:
That’s because a shortage of dentists — caused by the unexpected loss of one staff dentist and decisions by two new recruits to pull out before their arrival — has prompted the health center’s board to temporarily restrict new dental appointments to patients 20 and younger.
“I’m at the point where I can’t hardly eat at all,” said Tebrugge, 26, of Springfield. Tebrugge, a newspaper carrier and personal caregiver, has no dental insurance. She had hoped to get her remaining teeth pulled so she can receive dentures from a Jacksonville dentist in September.
Tebrugge and hundreds of other low-income adults may have to wait two or three more months.
The not-for-profit center at 2239 E. Cook St. doesn’t advertise the low-cost dental program. But word has spread quickly among people covered by Medicaid, who often have problems finding dentists willing to accept Medicaid reimbursements. People without Medicaid, private dental insurance or the money to pay for care from Sangamon County’s 150 private dentists also found the center’s sliding-scale fees more affordable.
It’s hard to retain dentists at a community clinic, Olson said. The center pays young dentists a competitive wage — about $110,000 annually. But in private practice, he said dentists can make more money in the long run.