Dental care is an essential but often overlooked component of healthcare. Yet many seniors (and children and families) across Massachusetts cannot access dental care because of cost, coverage gaps (Medicare does not cover dental), distance from a dentist, or dentists who do not accept public insurance (most MA dentists do not accept Medicaid). In 2012, 40% of MA seniors had lost at least six teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease, a situation which often exacerbates other physical and mental health problems.
MSAC is working with allies to create a system of Dental Hygiene Practitioners (DHPs) to help address such inequities and improve access to dental care. DHPs are dental hygienists who, after completing additional training, are able to deliver basic but critical care to underserved populations in the Commonwealth. Similar mid-level dental practitioners in Minnesota and Alaska have increased access to Medicaid patients and decreased travel and wait times.
What can you do?
- Contact your legislator and ask them to support (S.1118/H.249) to expand access to dental care.
- Call MSAC is you have had difficulty accessing dental care or struggled with the cost or if you would like more information about the campaign.