Dentistry and Access to poor children

February 23, 2012 in dental, Member Stories

It has always been perplexing to me that pediatricians have  served the MassHealth children  yet dentists avoid serving this indigent population within their generally more affluent communities. These parents have to travel into the city or  a number of towns away to get care and often these children’s oral health is neglected. Given there is data showing oral health care is necessary for good cardiac health that it is vital to start early-not to mention the loss of days at school for pain  I hope Mass dentists will reevaluate their obligations to this population. As a result it appears that in Minnesota market forces are taking over to fill the gap and may occur here eventually. Clay Christensen from the Harvard Business School in his book ” Seeing What’s Next” he states ” A provider level disruptive innovation moves the ability  to the provide competent care down the pyramid, allowing the patient to move into the realm of nurses, nurses to move into the realm of general practitioners, or general practitioners into the realm of specialists.” Thus in order to be more accessible and cost effective, dental health ought to allow what was in the dentist’s realm into the dental hygienist/technician realm. Dental and healthcare costs could bend with this mindset without loosing quality if implemented properly. I call on dentists to provide care for poor children within their own communities. Pediatricians have had to deal with reduced billing revenue from MassHealth for years.

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