#Vermont: FALKO SCHILLING: TIME TO ADDRESS THE ORAL HEALTH CRISIS (via @vtdigger)

6 May

vermont

We have an oral health crisis in Vermont. Thousands of Vermonters go without needed dental care every single year — in 2011 and 2012, nearly 100,000 didn’t get care. And, if you live in Vermont and you get your dental insurance through Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur, you are very even more likely to go without the dental care you need.

In 2013, more than 40 percent of kids and teenagers with Dr. Dynasaur didn’t have any dental visit. And, when the Green Mountain Care Board looked into dental care in Vermont they found that in the majority of Vermont’s towns fewer than half of people eligible for Medicaid had received any oral health care.

There are a lot of reasons why people with Medicaid and Dr. Dynasaur so often can’t get the dental care they need. They may live in a rural community without a dentist, or they may live in a town with a dentist but still have no luck because many Vermont dentists don’t take Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur insurance because it doesn’t pay them as much. Or if the dentist does take Medicaid, they only see a few patients that have it and may not be taking new patients.

This is a crisis, and a growing one because more Vermonters are enrolling in Medicaid now that the Affordable Care Act has assured that many more people with low-incomes qualify for the program. And, Vermont’s dentists — the oldest in the nation — are nearing retirement age. Even the Vermont State Dental Society has declared that the future is a challenge as dentists are only able to care for a limited amount of patients with Medicaid insurance and it is difficult to recruit young dentists to our state.

Something must be done because when people don’t get the dental care they need they suffer in pain, miss work and school, and are at risk for serious, and sometimes life threatening, infections.

The good news is that this is a problem we can address by adding dental therapists to the dental team in Vermont. Dental therapists are members of the dental team that expand its capacity to provide routine and preventive care to people who often would go with it. They are currently working to great success in 54 countries as well as in Alaska and Minnesota, and Maine just added them last year.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/eight-ways-to-keep-your-mouth-healthy

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