Mid-level dental providers: Innovation Washington Needs

by Dr. Alex Narvaez and John Stephens
December 26, 2012 - 10:18 am

It’s not often that you get a chance to see the future. Recently, however, we were invited on an educational trip to Alaska, where we saw the future of dental practice.

There, mid-level dental providers known as dental therapists are extending high-quality preventive and routine care to tens of thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access.

We came home convinced this innovation is needed in Washington, where an overburdened dental care system is failing too many people who can’t get the dental care they need.

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Declining state dental benefits create issues of access, cost

Posted on January 9, 2013

Patsy Brown dreams of apples, when the roots in her swollen gums relent her to slumber.

She thinks of how the skin breaks effortlessly when she puts her teeth to the fruit; of the crunchy burst of sweet and sour; the serrated mark of her first bite.

“I used to eat an apple every day,” the 49-year-old Yakima resident said.

Brown, a Medicaid recipient diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenic and who is unable to work, began losing her teeth a few years ago. All but five are broken off at the roots; only three of them remain whole.

Their swelling causes sharp pain, makes it difficult to eat, and sometimes renders her unable to move.

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A dearth of dental care, Skagit Valley Herald

By Gina Cole, Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon, Wash.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Dec. 23--When medical problems arise, people without adequate health insurance often turn to emergency rooms. The same is true for oral health problems.

Since Sept. 1, more than 70 patients have come to the emergency department at United General Hospital in Sedro-Woolley for dental concerns. These are usually cavities, abscesses or injuries, said Carsi Padrnos, director of the emergency department and intensive care unit.

But hospitals usually aren't equipped to address those concerns.

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Source: http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?i...