ADA Urges Congress to Help Expand Access to the Dentist

May 27, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

ADA to CongressIn response to a crisis of access to dental care for Americans, the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a report to Congress urging it to take steps to support an initiative that seeks to dramatically improve dental health and access to the dentist in this country.

“Millions of Americans continue to face barriers to dental care, which is why the ADA launched Action for Dental Health,” said ADA President Dr. Charles Norman. “While we have accomplished much in the first year, there is still much to do. This Report to Congress serves as a continued call to action for elected officials, health policy organizations, community leaders and the dental community to come together to bridge the dental divide.”

The statistics that the ADA cites in its assessment of the dental care crisis include:

  • 181 million Americans will not visit the dentist this year
  • Half of Americans over age 30 have gum disease
  • 1 in 4 Americans under the age of 5 have cavities
  • 2.1 million Americans went to the emergency room for dental care in 2010

All this comes as debate on healthcare has been preoccupied with the Affordable Care Act, which has in some states expanded access to dental care, but not in most states.

Initiatives to Improve Access and Care

The Action for Dental Health program includes nine different initiatives. These initiatives are:

  • Use public/private partnerships to decrease untreated dental decay in adults and children by 15% and increase children’s access to preventive dental care by 2020
  • Institute ER interception programs to reduce people visiting the ER for cavities and dental pain by 50% and overall dental issues by 35% by 2020
  • Get privately licensed dentists to accept publicly insured patients to increase access
  • Expand dental care for nursing home residents
  • Increase dental screening and use of sealants for children
  • Expansion of community water fluoridation
  • Expand existing dental safety net and educate people to increase utilization
  • Educate people about the importance of mouth health for overall health
  • Make it easier for dentists to participate in Medicaid and CHP with better reimbursement practices

Through these initiatives, the ADA hopes to significantly improve the overall oral health of the American public.

What’s Keeping You from the Dentist?

With 181 million Americans not visiting the dentist, it’s clear that there is not just one cause of underutilization, but many. Whatever may be keeping you from the dentist, at Grapevine Dental Care, we are prepared to help.

We offer sedation dentistry for people with dental anxiety. We work with many kinds of dental insurance. We offer flexible payment plans for people who may have difficulty paying for dental care.

If you want to learn how we can help you get access to a dentist in the Dallas area, please call Grapevine Dental Care at  817-481-6888 today.