Crisis in Children's Dental Care

March 23, 2004
An American Dental Association briefing will be held Wednesday, March 24, Noon - 1:00 PM EST

ADA Media Teleconference Advisory for March 24, 2004

Wednesday, March 24, Noon � 1:00 PM Eastern Time

Teleconference Number: 1-888-882-NEWS


Contact: Richard Green, ADA, 202/789.5170 or 202/236.9990 (cell)

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2004 -- Federal law requires state Medicaid programs to provide dental screening, diagnosis and treatment services to eligible children. But many state programs are woefully underfunded, administratively crippled or fail to provide the education, transportation and other services critical to successfully delivering care. As a result, only one of four eligible children sees a dentist in any given year, leaving millions at risk for and many thousands suffering from untreated dental disease. This is much more than a simple cavity. Severe, untreated dental disease can lead to profound, long-term health and developmental consequences.

The state of Florida is attempting to contract dental care for Medicaid-eligible children at $5 per child, per month�less than one-third of the cost of providing adequate care, according to independent actuarial studies.

Fairfax County, Va., one of the nation's wealthiest communities, wants to eliminate dental services to 3,754 children from low-income families, in order to save $600,000 in its 2005 budget.

WHAT: At this event, the American Dental Association and other stakeholders will:

1. Outline the degree and severity of disparity among the nation's needy children;

2. Release new findings about how states can improve their programs' cost; and

3. Propose further changes needed at the federal and state levels to get more kids into a continuum of oral health care.

4. Q &A

5. Journalists can participate in this newsmaker event by calling 1-888-882-NEWS.

1. Eugene Sekiguchi, DDS, president, American Dental Association
2. Mary McIntyre, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Alabama Medicaid Agency.
3. James J. Crall, DDS, ScD, Professor and Chair - Section of Pediatric Dentistry, UCLA School of Dentistry, UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities
4. Rep. Mike Simpson, DDS, R-Idaho