You wouldn’t think it would take days for a mother to find a dentist to treat her child, would you? The problem wasn’t about finding a dental clinic, but finding one that accepts Medicaid.
In some States there are still big problems for low income households and the uninsured, when it comes to getting affordable or free dental treatment.
Some say it’s about the mountains of paperwork that need to be completed or meeting the criteria regarding credentials.
Whatever deters dentists from accepting Medicaid patients needs to be addressed if there is to be an improvement in dental care for children.
The provision of free dental kits in schools may help, but it is regular checkups at the dentist that will spot the early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, misaligned teeth, or the results of bruxism.
Florida’s dental care crisis is a long-standing problem. Less than 15 percent of dentists accept Medicaid. In 2011, less than a quarter of Florida’s children on Medicaid saw a dentist.
Last year, Florida shifted all Medicaid dental patients into managed care, a move that state officials said would save money so dentists could get better rates. But that hasn’t happened so far, said Dr. Richard Stevenson, president of the Florida Dental Association.
It is often the most vulnerable in society who suffer the consequences of ‘red tape’, and sometimes the decision makers need to find a way to make things easier.
Certainly, it remains to be a time consuming, stressful, and too common problem, finding a dentist when you are on Medicaid.
When problems with teeth are dealt with quickly, it’s much less stressful to both parent and child.
Whether it’s a slack tooth, broken tooth, or a gap in the teeth, the problem should be sorted, regardless.
Thankfully, the mother, from Hillsborough County discovered Suncoast Community Health Centers, and got the treatment she needed for her daughter.