Gentle Dental of St. Clair Shores
26210 Harper Avenue, Suite 100, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081

What does the healthcare reform law mean for dental care?

What-does-the-healthcare-reform-law-mean-for-dental-care

 

As the Affordable Care Act continues to be implemented across the U.S., it’s important for people to understand how what this law means for the dental health community. The ACA aims to extend health insurance to all Americans who previously did not qualify or could not afford it. However, dental care does not always fall until the health insurance umbrella. You shouldn’t be ditching your current dental coverage because you think that the government will soon be providing it for free; there are things you need to know about the ACA and dental care.

According to Frontline, more than 100 million Americans do not have access to dental care due to a lack of insurance. The high cost of care without insurance has kept some people away from the dentist for years. However, now that the ACA has been implemented that does not mean that dental care will now be available to everyone in the U.S.

Adults still need coverage
Under the ACA, insurers will have to provide dental care to children starting in 2014, but not to adults. This will still leave the millions of adults in the U.S. that do not have dental insurance struggling to afford basic preventative dental measures.

However, this does not mean that things won’t get better in the dental health community now that the ACA has been passed. For example, the law will provide additional funding to areas that are considered “dental deserts.” These are places where people have to travel extremely far to gain access to a dental health professional, usually in rural areas where dentists do not choose to practice. According to the Kaiser Health Foundation, a little more than 15 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where there is limited access to dental health professionals.

One suggestion that have been made for how to handle areas of the country where there are few dentists is to expand the role of dental hygienists and dental therapists. The ACA has set aside funds to provide these individuals with more training, so they can perform some of the basic services that dentists do, such as cleaning and cavity drilling.

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) has staunchly disapproved of dental therapists in the past.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the ADA has argued that dental therapists lack the necessary training to perform dental procedures that could have long-term consequences. Furthermore, the organization has argued that these individuals are not qualified to notice the early signs of certain serious oral health issues, such as oral cancer.

President of the ADA Bill Calnon, D.D.S., explain that the hesitancy dentists feel about dental hygienists are purely safety concerns, not because they are worried about competition.

“This is not about dentistry or dentists protecting dentists,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “This is about dentists doing what they feel is the absolute best for the American public … and doing it in a way that maintains the highest level of quality care possible.”

Education is key
Finally, the ACA will also fund programs that teach people about the importance for having proper dental health habits and visiting the dentist regularly. If you brush and floss regularly and visit a dentist twice a year, then you will be far less likely to experience a painful dental health problem that will be expensive to treat.

For now, individuals without dental insurance should look for affordable care options such as discount dental plans and inexpensive dental insurance options, so they can afford the care they need.

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Staff is friendly and cleanliness of the office
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It took me over 20years to get to the dentist. If I would have known Dr. Ascano was out there I would have gone sooner. From the very first visit he took all my fears away and made me feel […]
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Dr. Duan is an excellent dentist. I thank her for fixing a dental emergency so quickly a couple days ago. I have been going to this dentist office for a couple years now and everyone has been nice […]
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Great staff and dentist. Very clean and great environment
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It’s deserved. Great atmosphere, fabulous staff, and personal approach assure a relaxed experience.
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Best dentist around. Timely and super friendly staff. Dentist is super talented. He saved a tooth that was on the way to having a root canal. And a couple of years later it still feels great. Highly […]
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I recently switched to this office and couldn’t be happier. Dr. Delgado is very personable, professional, and thorough. The staff is also very friendly and helpful.
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I was referred here by family and I’m very happy I decided to come here! Dr. Duan is such a sweetheart and her team is amazing as well. After having a HORRIBLE experience with my previous dentist, […]
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Recently went to this dentist for a exam and was very impressed with my overall experience. I was greeted with a very passionate and caring lady Donna. She was very pleasant and the hygentist was so […]
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Okay so I grew up being a afraid of the dentist my whole life. We had really crappy health coverage so we switched dentist offices a TON but this Gentle Dental is not like any other place I’ve […]
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