Study Shows School Based Dental Care Effective

School Dental CareAccording to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, a dental care program in California has effectively reached people who really need it the most. The study looked into the part of a California program that sends dental hygienists to nursing homes, day care centers, and schools.

For several decades now, the gap between low income children and those from high income families have grown when it comes to oral health. Most dentists don’t accept Medicaid and millions of Americans are living in areas where there is a shortage of dentists.

There are innovative methods to give access to the underserved communities. For instance, more than 50 countries have already allowed dental providers or therapists to provide routine preventive care. Dental therapists provide fewer procedures and require less training. They also require less salary.

In the California pilot program, the dental hygienists provide basic dental care to people under the supervision of a dentist who is off site. The hygienists take x-ray with the use of a portable machine that looks like a hair dryer.

Then they send the information to the dentist and they look for the right treatment for the patient. Then the hygienist will be the one who will do the treatment. The program has helped give dental access to people who can’t go to a dentist on their own or have trouble paying for one.

Most of the people who are part of the program have no regular source of dental care and they find it hard to get someone to accept them. Bringing basic dental care to the community allows them to avoid more expensive care in the future.

At present, the pilot project of California could not be sustained from the Medi-Cal payments. The state must find other sources for funding the program on a bigger scale.

Photo by Brendan John[CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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